Deborah Ross: Break the 140 character barrier with RealMeet?

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, I am first with the news, for once, and would like to introduce you to a new and exciting way of social networking. Although we already have Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, whatever that is, to keep in touch with people, a new platform called RealMeet is set to revolutionise the way we all interact, and is so brilliant that those who monitor such things can barely contain themselves.

"I've had a major hard-on ever since I first heard about it," says the tech reporter from the Financial Times, "and I can't see it going away any time soon. This may even be the most life-changing innovation of our time."

RealMeet is unique. It is not like Twitter, which relies on observing something humorous about queuing for a train ticket in the hope this will impress people you don't know, who will share it with other people you don't know, none of whom you would rescue from drowning in a canal even if they were within easy reach and imploring: "Here's my hand. Take it!" And it's not like Facebook, in that there is no obligation to accept the debasement of the word "friend", just as there is no obligation to hide your true, depressed self behind photographs of a "blissful" and "perfect" sailing weekend.

"RealMeet is for those who may have tried all the social networking sites and have found them wanting," says founder Zach Jones. "The idea came to me in a Eureka moment when I suddenly thought: I know enough people already. I know all the people I'll ever want to know, in fact, and don't see enough of them as it is. So why don't I meet up with them in a RealPlace in RealTime to catch up, go to the pub, have a meal, whatever? Wouldn't this add a whole new layer of meaning?"

One woman who has already tried RealMeet says: "I hadn't seen my friend Cathy for ages so we met up for a few drinks, got a bit tipsy, shared confidences, had a right laugh, swore we'd turn up for each other if needed at 4am, and it was great. Seriously, at no time during the evening did I wish I was tweeting humorously about a queue, or had spent hours upsetting myself on Pinterest by looking at crushingly expensive ribbon and decor for a house I don't have."

If you would like to use RealMeet, it is simple, and free. All you have to do is pick up a phone (landline is fine), call someone, go meet them, indicate your present location by shouting: "Hey, Sue, over here!" and that's about it. "Brilliant, genius," says that tech reporter. "Although I hope I get over it by Tuesday, as I'm meeting my mother for lunch."

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