When I meet up with friends for giant cheeseburgers and copious amounts of red wine, the conversation usually goes straight to what everyone else has been up to.
And when I say everyone else, I don’t mean everyone else around the table except me.
‘Did you know Amy is having ANOTHER baby?’
‘And Lucy is pregnant with what’s his name’s baby! I swear they’ve only been together like a month’
‘And OMG how sad is it that Rachel’s mum died last week’
‘Errrr how has Luke got engaged to Molly so quickly, I swear he was with his last girlfriend for like 7 years and he’s been with her for like two minutes’
‘How cute is it that Natalie’s moved in with Stuart? They looked so happy in their holiday pics’
Obvs I’ve changed names and made up scenarios, but you get the picture.
These aren’t our best friends, nor our families, heck, these aren’t even our friends, these are people we worked with back in 2008, people we went to school with, people we met on holiday, these are people whose middle names and siblings we don’t have a clue about.
I mean yeah, we could talk about me, or them. But we’ve been Whatsapping and Facebook messaging whilst at work pretty much every day since we last saw each other, and let’s be honest, I clog up everyone’s Twitter and Instagram feeds as it is. We all know what I’m doing. But what we haven’t discussed is the 1000 other people we follow over social media in intense detail, have we?
We have become obsessed with people we haven’t seen since we bumped into them drunk whilst in a kebab shop in 2009. Bit weird, innit?
And the worst thing is you probably have a hit list, a favourites list, a little mental note about the people who you like to stalk the most. Maybe it’s because they’re a bit tragic and make you feel good about your life, maybe they’re the new girlfriend of your ex, or maybe they’re just really pretty and you fancy them and want to keep tabs on their lives more than you give a shit about Kim Kardashian’s latest wardrobe monstrosity.
Whatever it is, you care more about these people’s social media updates than you do about most celebrities and probably more than you do about a lot of your actual friends, people you actually converse with in real life.
Imagine how much money MailOnline could make if it transformed its homepage into an array of news stories and photos of all your favourite social media stalkees? Tailored to your stalking habits. The actual dream, no?
I don’t personally see anything wrong with it as such. We’ve been doing it on the down low since MySpace was making us learn HTML to perfect our wallpaper, it’s only now that we’re all kinda bashfully coming out of the woodwork, tail behind legs, to admit we stalk and then chat about what obscure people from the past are up to.
I’ve written before about why we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others on social media, but it feels like this is different, more of a guilty pleasure like Teen Mom (soz to bring it up again, but SO EFFING GOOD) than something that brings a negative impact on our lives.
I don’t feel like we’re horrible or bitchy about other people, just gossiping, and gossiping in a way in which it could never possibly get back to them.
Does that make it right? Probably not, but if people I haven’t seen since I was strutting out of my prom limo are talking about me whilst they order in curry and drink Blossom Hill, than heck, at least i’m interesting and surely that means I’m doing something right.