we take a turd-tinted microscope to the dangers of the social networking underground network.
'It had become like an obsession - logging on to her pages on the social networking sites Stardoll [the fuck is that? – ed.] and Bebo was the first thing she did in the morning and the last thing she did at night'. So sayeth'd one concerned mother.
'And the worst thing about it was that it didn't seem to be making her at all happy. She went from being bright and chatty and excited to listless and constantly bored. Her eyes would glaze over, her concentration span diminished and she seemed uninterested in everything except how many messages she'd got.'
Perhaps she wasn’t doing it right.
But this reporter has reason to believe that suicide and cyber-bullying hide behind the facade of ‘harmless fun’. Unlike some newspapers, we won't attempt to cynically exploit the tragic death of a teenager by associating it with an entirely unrelated case which actually had no negative consequences at all, but we do recommend you become extremely worried, now.
This week, Archdaemon Vincent Nichols of the Roman Catholic Church of England theatrically flung himself uninvited into the debate. He warned that the trend towards harbouring machina and creating fragile virtual relationships leaves teenagers desolate and inconsolable when these relationships break down, or when their computers do.
With a bizarre disease metaphor, Nichols claimed it was an 'all-or-nothing syndrome that you [catch] in an attempt to shore up an identity. Friendship is not a commodity, it is hard work and enduring when it is right.'
The apparently Amish archbishop of Westminster also expressed concern that an over-reliance on cyber friendships is impeding our ability to defend against the cataclysmic inevitable conclusion of total subservience to sentient machine overlords. Though these were not technically his exact thoughts, the sentiment was strongly inferred by the Quail.
'The reality is that the popularity such sites confer is a mirage,' confirms online agony witch Hilary Freeman. 'One of the results of the social networking phenomenon is that quantity has replaced quality as the marker of friendship.
'It's not uncommon for members to list more than 500 "friends". Clearly, no more than a handful of these are true friends. Some of the rest, if they're lucky, are acquaintances, but some will be rivals [and some Russian spies], who wish them harm.'
By Joel Sport.
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