Monday, 7 January 2013

Social Butterfly

I never was one for parties. Higher heels and shorter skirts would enhance my social appetite, my mother told me, but parties surveyed from stilettos seemed to me the same cacophonous Babel as parties endured in the tweed twin set the churchwarden had outgrown.

My tentative opinions on coir-based composts and Primark polyknits packed no punch amid such fevered networking. I judged my impact on the number of handshakes I received, on the number of glazed eyes and, once, on a Valentine's proposition which turned out to be from an octogenarian with a urinary tract disorder whom I'd steered to the Gents.

Nowadays, however, social gatherings have acquired new meaning. My insights into vacuum cleaners and Bourbon Creams and my passing pleasantries to strangers are validated by a mark out of 100. At the end of a month of small talk I can measure my success with a Klout score.

Where once monologues about my daily routines would have cleared a room, they now collect a gratifying tally of followers - a gallery of smiling faces agog for the latest on my blocked drains. Doubt still creeps in, of course, but Progress allows me to check my stats to reassure myself that enough of those smiling faces are tuning in daily. This is not enough, though. They might be the sort who gaze glassy-eyed over my left shoulder while I'm in full flow, waiting for a more inviting opportunity. Therefore the sum total of replies in my comments box is essential evidence that I'm being heard and, in case some of my audience are speechless with awe, I get to install a device to record the number of people who 'like' my dronings.

All these numbers are agreeable proof that I am a Person of Consequence. The wallflower that was once me now dares inform a gathering of hundreds what I'm planning for supper. I can commiserate with strangers over their collapsed arches and flirt with folk ten years younger while anchored comfortingly in my fleecy slippers.

Nope, I no longer need high heels and short skirts to stand tall. I don't even need to leave the house. In fact, I dare not leave the house. What if a witticism occurred to me while I was lunching with friends and I was without the means to share it on Twitter? What if my Klout score tumbled because I was weekending away without my laptop? If a follower deserts me I need to be there on the spot to work out what I might have said wrong and to attract speedy replacements with an anecdote about my son's mischief with the loo brush.

It's a heady experience being a social triumph, but it's an exhausting one. Sometimes I mourn the days when socialising simply required me to skulk against a back wall with a cocktail sausage. But there's no going back. When, a few months ago, I mingled among flesh and blood in a party hall I recited my best tweets as an ice breaker and awaited encouraging interactions. But by the end of the evening I had no validating score show for it, besides one new follower and he, it transpired, was pursuing me to hand over the umbrella I'd left on his chair.

But guess what! When I told Twitter that a stranger had accosted me waving a long furled object dozens were agog. My Klout rating soared half a point and and four blondes and ladder supplier followed me. From now on, therefore,  I'll wow the crowds from my armchair and save myself a fortune on evening wear and Ferraro Rocher. And so, dear cyber friends, please comment, retweet, follow and 'like' me so that I can tell my mother that she must overlook my M&S Footgloves because, although I'm inevitably in when she calls me,  I'm now a social butterfly!


What do you think? Is the fact we can 'quantify' our social success among strangers a giant step for mankind or should we all get out more?

29 comments:

  1. The Internets >>>>>>>>>> Real life stuff.

    You can flirt with me any time you want, babes.

    xxx

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  2. Aah and yet you're charming company in the flesh. They say you should always watch out for the quiet ones and anyone not paying attention to you is suffering a loss they'll never know, because, (actually we'll not tell anyone) you're not really that quiet and we love you all the more for doing your thing, your way. You came up an an influencer on something or other I did social media wise the other day, but don't ask me what!

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    1. You are more than sweet. I hope it's obvious though that the above is tongue in cheek! Last time I looked, by the way, I was an influencer on Oreos.

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  3. Oh ... that did get my day off to a good start - you do make me smile Matron! Mmmmm the social cyberphere can be a little deceptive - I think it's time to get a little more, but I will take an emergency sausage on stick in case I find myself in a lonely corner! X.

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    1. Trouble is all those worthless stats can get addictive. And my small talk in real life has shrunk to 140 characters from sheer habit!

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  4. I say those stats mean nothing - computer generated rubbish. Whereas you (and me, I hope) mean so much more.

    CJ x

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    Replies
    1. I agree, they're meaningless. But the trouble is we all risk becoming enslaved to them at the expense of real life.

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  5. My new year's resolution is to do exactly that - get out more that is ;) As a new(ish) blogger I became a bit obsessed with stats for the 6 months or so that I blogged last year. This year, I'm doing it just for me. Already feel less pressured to get posts up on time and make each one get more hits, and linked to more sites than the last... it's so boring when I think about the time I spent trying to ensure my page views hit new heights every week! Sod taking it all too seriously - I am now at the mercy of soft play anyway! xxx

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    1. I lost interest in my stats after my blog became overrun with spammers. I know now that half my daily viewings are computer generated. Comments, anyway, are far more satisfying so thanks for taking the trouble.

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  6. It is so easy to get obsessed with stats when you start blogging. Well it was for me anyway. & it used to infuriate me when my husband used to try and discretely tweet well until I got a Twitter account and now I probably don't notice as I may be tweeting too. I guess it's all about balance and as amazing as the internet is, sometimes it is nice to occasionally socialise over a cocktail sausage.

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    1. Twitter etc is pleasant but facile and no substitute for real mates. the sad thing is wit busy middle-aged lives and far-flung friends one spends far more time interacting with strangers in cyberspace than with mates across a coffee table.

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  7. Don't you find it amusing for a while then it just gets boring? Maybe it's just me, but I lose interest awfully quickly.

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    1. It's boring when you've got better things to do. I find myself inconveniently distracted by Twitter when I'm at my solitary desk in the guest room chasing deadlines and anxious for distraction. It's a handy alternative to office gossip for lone home workers!

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  8. I say it's a necessity to interact via the internet and social networking sites these days but it's about getting the balance right - so hard! I love the fact that you can lounge in PJs but still be socially accepted, in fact even 'liked' for it! There is none of this eyeing each other up and down, deciding if we like what we see. I like the anonymity but like you, am exhausted by it all half the time! Great post :)

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    1. Thank you. Yes, it's far easier to make a good impression online. I find it mystifying, though, how much trivial domestic detail clutters up cyberspace. I don't give a hoot about whether someone's defrosted a pizza for dinner and fear that people are starting to deem every blink and belch newsworthy.

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  9. As always, this is very funny. As the DM and my children are between them occupying my entire life, I have no friends either virtually or otherwise, so I do relish your (richly deserved) popularity!

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    1. You couldn't get a closer virtual friend than me. I consider us cyber sisters!

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  10. It's unusual to like someone as much in person as online but with you I'm happy to say it's actually impossible not too. Wallflower? I don't know what your mother is talking about.
    (PS. Next time we get to meet up and going to slip an extra bottle of Peroni onto you table and watch you bloom.)

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    1. The feeling's mutual. I hope that next time is soon.

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  11. One day I will meet you in person, but rest assured you can leave your slippers on and I will bring mine, with wine of course. :-)

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    1. I look forward to that day. But I think you meant to say lager!

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  12. Do you know what? I think we should have a pyjama party tweet-up. We can all wear onesies, bifocals and heated slippers as we compete for new followers, retweets and the best witticisms. The one with the biggest increase in Klout the next morning will be the blogging equivalent of the girl who turns up next morning with the biggest love bite ;)

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    1. What a fabulous idea. I can be quite wild so long as I can keep my slippers on!

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  13. Stats are meaningless for most of us but somehow addictive - to start with. I once had over 2,000 hits in a day (some popular blog had mentioned my blog), which was fun but there's no money in it. I rarely bother nowadays to see what my stats are. I blog, I email, I tweet, I Facebook - but I haven't learnt how to text yet.

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    1. 2,000 would make me very vain! I never text either. Can't work out how to do the semi colons.

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