When I'm alone I find myself anchored to my computer. YouTube and Facebook are too enticing for me not to reach for my laptop whenever I'm bored. Internet social networking is surely the saddest thing modern technology has to offer my generation. Rather than visiting art galleries or reading or doing anything worthwhile (eg, going to the pub), instead I'm posting boring chat on somebody's "wall" in an effort to keep up with whatever's going on. It feeds our need for attention and to some degree legitimises stalking. Surely both of these things are deeply unhealthy.
And yet before I had Facebook I had my phone, something else I constantly check for text messages, so perhaps it's just me that's addicted to the web/attention. I know this isn't true, though, because beyond Facebook and MySpace and Bebo or whatever else it is that happened in the wake of Friendster, the internet is crawling with blogs created by people in order to document their lives via photos and witty throwaway comments they spent hours constructing. And if you delve a little deeper, if you want something a little darker, there are plenty of chat rooms associated with bands, actors and, most importantly, television personalities people apparently either love, or love to hate.
I've had first-hand experience of this. After my first appearance on television, naturally I Googled the show to see what people thought of my presenting skill, or lack thereof. And there it was in black and white, hundreds, if not thousands, of people confirming my deepest fears: I sucked.
And yet for every person who hates me, there is another (obviously incredibly intelligent) person who is willing to jump to my defence – but it's a case of too little, too late. Only the negative comments stick. I'm happy to say I'm not the only one sad enough to Google my own name, and I know plenty of other people who fall for the forums because it's like being privy to what people say about you behind your back. We often make a point of reading out all the hateful things people write about myself, Rick and Grimmy on Freshly Squeezed to compete over who got the best insult. We give shout-outs to the people who've made the most poisonous comments.
But who are these people who while away the hours pouring their venom on to keyboards? I guess they're the same ones who comment on this very column – hi, guys. I know that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but when they start writing it down in places I can find it, I really wish they weren't. Sometimes I feel like I survived my schooldays, only to grow up and be bullied by people I've never actually met.
But then there are the people I have met who still think I'm an idiot. I wonder whether Cheryl Cole (below) found me to be "all superior, like", as she was happy to tell British Vogue, when I was making cups of tea for Girls Aloud on a shoot they were doing for the now-defunct pop magazine Smash Hits.
In actual fact, this was our first encounter, when I was assisting a photographer, long before I took on the task of reading out snide questions on the now-also-defunct music show Popworld. I'm not trying to start a war with Cheryl Cole, far from it – I'm just gutted she dislikes me because I happen to love her. Without becoming too sycophantic, I think she's hotter than the sun. And perhaps she's right and I was a little frosty when I interviewed her, but hopefully I've thawed out since then.
Defrosting is a tricky thing to do in this weather. I now face the colossal task of trying to look attractive and female while also managing to stay warm. After dabbling with Missoni elbow-length gloves and over-the-knee socks under my Balenciaga jeans, it has become apparent that this is virtually impossible. So I've decided to stop giving in to vanity and have ordered a sensible men's goosedown coat to keep me warm. At least this way, when the online forums dislike my outfit, I can think to myself: yes, I may look ridiculous, but at least I'm lowering my chances of catching pneumonia. Not that I'll be reading them, of course. Ahem.Reuse content