So, as it turns out, I have a bit of an infatuation with Caitlin Moran, and it rears it’s ugly head every time I drink too much anywhere near an internet-enabled device. It’s true; give me a smartphone and a beer, and I’ll go to the ends of the earth to hit on her and humiliate myself in a public forum. The first time I tweeted Caitlin “That’s Catlin” Moran, it was to tell her that I fancy the pants off her, would like to sex her up or, failing that, be her. I didn’t even have a Twitter account until then! I set it up expressly to publicly humiliate myself! To my utter mortification, when I sobered up and checked my email the next day, I found that she’d actually replied. Argh! It took days for me to find the courage to actually check what she’d said. And d’you know what? I went and did exactly the same thing the very next time I got drunk. God save me.
There’s no arguing that the ubiquity of the internet has changed how we interact with one another in some pretty fundamental ways – even if you aren’t someone who’s proven time and again that they really should not be allowed to communicate with people in any way after a drink. It’s connected people from myriad countries and cultures and, in theory at least, opened the door for a new, cosmopolitan, global culture. There are some downsides to the all-pervasive, all-seeing internet, however: spend ten minutes on any message board and you’ll find The Greater Internet F*ckwad Theory at play; I remember coming across a report a while back suggesting that those generations born since the internet became a full-blown Thing are significantly lacking in social skills; once something is on the internet, it stays on the internet. I suppose that last one is more a problem for politicians and other powerful, public figures rather than the average schmuck like you or I – but having said that, it wasn’t so long ago that a major cock-up saw everyone’s private Facebook messages posted to their walls for anyone to see. Now, it might just be me, but I don’t think a site like Facebook should be making little mishaps like that. Even the purest of us will feel mildly violated by having ostensibly private messages made public, and the rest of us probably have the odd message – or in my case, a great many – we really don’t want people seeing.
And that right there is something that particularly concerns me. I tend to get pretty maudlin when I drink – just one of a whole host of potentially troublesome qualities I adopt, I might add. Back in the day, if you drank too much and started getting all achey-breaky for a lost flame you’d come home, put on some Taylor Swift (or whatever the chronologically-appropriate equivalent would be – Rick Astley, maybe?), maybe crack open another bottle of spirits, and be just as damn pathetic as you pleased, because that’s as far as it went. Now, however, it’s all too easy to fire up Facebook, or Google +, or any other social messaging site of choice, and send some compromising and truly humiliating messages to people who really do not want to hear from you. It’s not as simple as just deleting a number or de-friending someone; the internet has made it so much easier to break boundaries that it now takes serious effort to put them back up.
And sometimes those boundaries are necessary. To my continuing discomfort, I’ve been told to back the hell off by more than one irate boyfriend after drinking just a little too much with my phone within reach. You can’t kill a relationship without emotional closure, and how in the hell do you find that when it takes just a couple of clicks to bring up enough photos of your snuffed flame to drown your suppurating, snivelling little heart? Sometimes you fall out with someone and the best thing all round would be to simply sever that connection swiftly and completely, but how many of us really have the strength of character to do that? Especially when it’s so much more vindictively satisfying to keep following their status updates and rolling in their latest misfortune like a dog in sh*t?
Anyway, I’m sinking into a shame-ball which is about to go supernova, so I’m going to take my own advice and cut this short before I say something I regret. Let’s open up a discourse here, though! Am I on to something, or is it just a stunning lack of self-control and blame-shifting on my part? Anyone else woken up with the weighty certainty that last night was disastrously communicative and feeling bold enough to share? Don’t be shy; I need your raw embarrassment to patch up my own shattered ego. So let’s get sharing, and until next time.
P.s. For anyone that’s interested, Ms. Moran was, to my inexpressible relief, very nice about the whole thing, and I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise, and thank Caitlin for not being indignant, offended, or any one of a whole gamut of other possible responses – or asking what my mum would think of all this. Because I’ll tell you right now, she would not think anything good. At all. In the slightest. I’d probably get beaten with a shoe.
Oh, also, it seems only appropriate to mention that I’ve decided to start using Twitter for something more productive than haranguing celebrities, and every time I remember to submit an article or update my blog it will be heralded by a suitably slurred tweet. So get following, and hashtagging, and whatever else it is you little twitterers do.