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A Sofa, the Internet and some Hashtags

November 22, 2010

It’s 3 o’clock. This afternoon is overcast but surprisingly bright. It’s late November and it’s cold outside and in. I’m sitting in my living room with my computer on my lap and my housemate is on the other sofa doing largely the same thing. We’ve both got nothing much to do. Well I say that, she’s probably got some review or other to type up and probably should have showered by now, and I’ve been meaning to start my research into what law firms I may want to apply for for next year. But I get the feeling that neither of us can be bothered with all that right now. In the same way that during summer the heat makes everyone lethargic – sometimes to the point of dribbling – this afternoon’s cold weather has become equally inhibitive. I have been outside once today already – I went for a walk with our other housemate so she could pop to the pharmacy and so I could stretch my legs – but nothing out there was very inviting, especially when you have no money.

So we sit, both of us dull faced and glassy eyed, staring at our computers. Considering we three have been coping perfectly well these last two weeks without tv or the internet, and have often remarked on how nice and social a place our living room has become, this transformation now that we’re all on the web is a little bit depressing. Up until now we’ve sat up until 2am just talking and getting to know each other; we’ve people watched and made up names and life stories for those who regularly pass by; we’ve had friends over for drinks, dinner, ice-cream and cupcake evenings, even whole weekends; we’ve come up with hilarious in-jokes that we’re planning to write up into a sitcom with ourselves as the main characters (watch out BBC One); we’ve recycled our toilet roll tubes into handmade decorations that lovingly adorn one of our living-room shelves like the nursery school creations of a 5 year old; and we’ve invested in several board-games in preparation for those rainy days when all you have is breadsticks and several bottles of wine to keep you going. We were doing quite well by all accounts. And now we sit here, connected to the world but isolated from those around us.

But what can you do? We need the internet for work, for organisation, for communication, for entertainment even. It’s a great tool, it’s just a shame that it’s also such a brilliant distraction. So I suppose that if having it is a bad thing, which it only really is when it gets in the way of ordinary conversation, the silver lining is that now we’re all on twitter we’re getting in on some excellent comedy hashtag action. Recommendations so far include #boringprequels, #failedchristmascarols and #slightlywrongfilmquotes. Check them out, they made us chuckle. And if you’re not on twitter then have a gander at my older posting Impressions of a First Time Voter where I point out the usefulness of social media during big political happenings. And yes, that was a shameless plug of my own blog, but don’t worry as that doesn’t happen very often.

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