I made a new friend recently, and all things considered, it was a fun but exhaustive – and exhausting – process. First, we added each other on Twitter and Facebook, and then swiftly moved to Instagram. We shunned bog standard texting (so passé) for WhatsApp, but have only just taken the plunge to move on to LinkedIn – biographical listings of one’s CV not quite as interesting as amusing photographs of nights out, or ‘arty’, soft focus filter shots of what we had for lunch or dinner.
When it comes to keeping in touch, we may only have known each other for weeks – a month, tops – but we’re committed. After all, a ‘break up’ just isn’t worth the trail of technological destruction we would leave in our wake. Our ‘follower’ count would diminish, concerns would be raised as to why we so publicly became ‘friends’ only to be ‘de-friended’ faster than you can say “D.M me”.
Modern relationships are an IRL (in real life) lesson in permanence and perseverance. You either take the plunge head-long into your Microsoft marriage, or get dumped at the first virtual mention of dodgy, right-wing Facebook groups like Britain First, or one too many baby photos. It’s a cruel, cached world out there, and we haven’t even ventured onto Snapchat yet.
Earlier this month, a new app that deletes photos and friendships 24 hours after making them found its place in the market. Sobrr, says co-founder Bruce Yang – who developed it after a night out in Vegas – is an attempt to do away with the cringing, toe-curling reminiscence of the-morning-after-the-night-before. With Sobrr, new connections ‘expire’ after 24 hours, unless both parties actively tap to ‘keep’ them. “Unlike other social media, Sobrr is not about what you did, but what you’re doing,” Mr Yang writes on the app blog.
It sounds like a good idea, for long gone are the days of waiting excitedly – and with some trepidation – for a 24-pack of disposable camera shots at Snappy Snaps, particularly when all you have to show for a good night is a dull headache and a faint sense of embarrassment. Now, of course, it’s hard to get through a night without someone posting evidence online of bad dancing after one too many tequila shots. But what Sobrr doesn’t take into account is our desire for permanence. And in our social media-suffused age, legacy beats privacy, keyboards down.
The proof of our desire to be remembered is in the Googling, for never before have we been so permanently categorised, archived, ranked and gossiped about; our likes and dislikes – professional and personal – so freely offered up for the consumption of our parents, prospective employers and potential partners.
Our social lives, and, with it, our friendships, have changed unrecognisably – and that’s why we should choose who we want to share our personal moments of drama and downright humiliation with ever more wisely. Because unlike Sobrr, our friends will remember.
So when making the choice to ‘connect’ with someone, perhaps it would be worth taking stock of just how much of our lives we’re willing to share with them. If you can bear the thought of them cycling through your embarrassing teenage photos and they still come up trumps, then they’re probably worth going the distance. IRL.Reuse content