The Creepy Future

A short one today as I’m sure not many of us want to be reading blog entries on New Year’s Eve.

One thing that strikes me today is that we live in a very strange age. The post regarding Bryan Lee O’Malley is a pretty good example of this, as is the fact that I was privy to a public conversation between two prominent comic creators on Twitter today. As much as I love Twitter, following people I’ve never met and listening in to their conversations – because eavesdropping has got to be in everyone’s top 5 list of hobbies – there comes a point where it becomes  weird and a little creepy.

It was the aforementioned conversation that really alerted me to this, as one party mentioned knowing that the other wasn’t  a fan of someone else’s work (in this case, Alan Moore). They denied this, and the original party admitted being mistaken, having been led to believe this fallacy by something they tweeted earlier in the year.

This reminded me of my own meeting with a couple of comic creators at Thought Bubble in November, at which I second-guessed most of what one of my favourite artists was saying because I’d already seen it on Twitter.

Maybe it’s just me – and it wouldn’t be the first time – but a one-way relationship, like that of following someone who doesn’t follow you on Twitter, can only ever work online, where it can’t be awkward and any interaction you might have is entirely controlled by the followee. Once you get into the real world with that person and divulge all the information you’ve learned about them it becomes more than a little backwards, because although they themselves put the info out there, they know next to nothing about you.

It’s like having your best friend’s memory wiped and then going to the pub with them.

I say this now because this is pretty much the age we’re in: one where a large portion of our day is spent online, learning more and more about people and products and things we may never come into contact with. But it’s just as real as any other part of life because it affects us, and a reliance on that is kind of dangerous when you expose it to the air.

Twenty years ago, if you met an author or musician you were a huge fan of, it would be amazing because they’d still be a mystery to you, unless you read every feature and biography written about them. Today the mystery’s not there so much and, while I’m not saying it’s impossible to have a real interaction with someone you follow, the scales are weighted in an odd way and it makes me feel funny.

I guess that’s as good a way to sum up this year as any.

Happy New Year, guys. See you on the other side.

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