A Network of Acquaintances

Posted: November 25, 2011 in #fridayflash, Short stories

Josie sat with the luminosity of the computer screen penetrating her pupils. Fixated and barely blinking, she trawled through the Domestic Page which housed her acquaintances recent activities.

It was nothing more than a spy cam into everyone’s lives, but it would seem people couldn’t resist posting on their comrade’s electronic fence and updating their every move. Like bees, they went about their daily business but were frequently lured in by the sweet sticky smell of pollen, or in this case, just plain nosiness.

Josie found it astonishing how much power a small heart shaped symbol could gain, as it collected more thumbs up and words of congratulations than an award winning film, on a critic’s page of a national newspaper. It was even more amusing, that the same heart symbol ripped in half, received twice as many applauds and encouraging comments and ‘You’re better off without him’ remarks. Yet the people graffitiing on these personal circumstances hadn’t seen you face-to-face in over ten years.

She smiled as she clicked on the ‘Topical timeline’s’ button, which was the recent record of her comrades posts. It was as if these testimonies played a huge significance in people’s lives, but when it really came down to it, would anyone remember these fascinating events? She chuckled to herself as she imagined what her comrade’s tombstone might read: “Kathy Jenkins; A beloved Mother, Daughter and Friend. Gone but never forgotten. Had a lush roast beef dinner, nom nom nom, at 18.27 on May 2011”.

Nevertheless, Josie was obsessed with the constant stream of activity which was updated by the second. She had thought about joining an addicts group, but that would mean giving up on the drug that was social networking. Blinking quickly she removed the thought from her mind and continued to rummage through the information on the screen, like a jumble sale, casting aside the dreary jumpers until she found the unwanted Prada item.

Joshua Giles: has just eaten a magnificent dinner cooked by his lovely wife Emma Giles’. This was surprising, as Emma had been in the same Home Economics class as Josie at school. She was best remembered for mistaking dried yeast for wholemeal flour and totally destroying a whole classroom, trying to bake bread.

‘Allen Brittan: is chill-axing!’ Considering he hadn’t had a job since the day he left school ten years ago, it was no wonder he was relaxing at home.

‘Cassie Anfield: loves her children dearly, but wishes they would be quiet for just ten bloody minutes.’ Interesting. Cassie was the only girl in the school’s history to get sent out of an exam room because she couldn’t keep quiet for a whole sixty minutes. Her classmates, including Josie, who had sat next to her in the exam room, could see Cassie almost physically explode, as they approached the sixty minute mark. Her eyebrows and waxed top lip, formed small sweat beads through sheer strain of keeping her mouth closed, for what seemed the longest period of her life. It wasn’t surprising her children were as raucous.

Daly Lewis’ account hadn’t been active for nearly three months now, which was a shame as Josie loved reading his updates of what goods he claimed to have ‘acquired’ and was selling at rock bottom prices. He had been the same at school. Bringing in a rucksack full of sweets and pop; selling them on for a profit. Children used to go to him before the school cafeteria, calling him “The Daly convenience”. She guessed that his inactivity online was due to no internet access in prison.

Josie sat back in her chair and continued to snip away slowly at the photograph of herself from when she was younger. She was making a collage of her past. Her therapist had said it would help her move on and establish a more stable future. But the collage was uninspiring compared to the boost she was getting from ‘Lifebook’.

It was nothing more than a game of popularity for some of them, although they would never admit it. Not only did they try and get as many comrades on their lists as possible, but they soon insisted on ‘pinning’ people in their Topical Timelines; labelling themselves with groups of friends to make them seem sociable and trendy.

The funniest incident Josie had seen was last weekend, when ‘Meg Hathaway’ had posted she was out celebrating her birthday, ‘pinning’ comrades to her timeline. Josie couldn’t help but imagine Meg physically tying each one down with a ball and chain, insisting they stayed for the duration of her birthday drinks.

This image was confirmed when Meg’s comrade remarked on the Timeline location with, “Oh glad you having a good time on your birthday Meg, only I’m at home and so are most of the group you’ve listed. Get a life love!!!” Having her beady eye on this juicy piece of pollen, Josie noticed this comment not only vanish, but the camaraderie between Meg and her friend, disengage from each other within minutes. Social Networking Gold in Josie’s eyes.

Maybe one day she would explain to those who claimed to be her friend in the cyber world what she’d been through.

The fact of the matter was, they probably wouldn’t understand, or in fact recognise her in the cold harsh reality world. This is why she had two separate profiles on the Social Networking site.

Josie Miller had over four hundred acquaintances in cyber space, but her new account had just twenty. After all, there were only two dozen people in the whole world who now knew Josie as Jake and at least four of those people were doctors or surgeons.

  1. ganymeder says:

    You were right. This was a fun one!

  2. adampb says:

    The reality of this situation is so true; but it’s the twist at the end that makes is so juicy. *goes off to update status*
    Adam B @revhappiness

  3. Maria Kelly says:

    Oh, nice twist at the end! Didn’t see that one coming. Fun insight into social networking, too. 🙂

  4. FARfetched says:

    Clever twist on the booze that is social networking! Never touch the stuff. glug glug glug

    Speaking of twists, that was a fantastic one at the end. I wonder how Jake will introduce himself to his other online friends.

  5. Sonia Lal says:

    LOL Loved the twist at the end. Fun.

  6. Nice analysis of the banality of a lot of social networking Great twist at the end.

  7. Helen says:

    Ah I was smiling all the way through this and never expected the ending, good twist on a fun and reality story!

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