If there is one activity I love wasting time at, by which I mean doing even when there is no need of doing it, it has to be driving. I am a wanderer and I can jump into my car and drive for hours, even months, without paying any particular attention to where I’m going, what I’m going to do when I get there and whether the wheels are still on my car or I’m Yabba Dabba Doo-ing my way up the M1 to Peshawar – where this kind of thing doesn’t really turn heads. Mind you, such insane driving will not only decrease the running life of your vehicle; it will also increase your chances of contracting Mechanic’s Foot (like Athlete’s Foot, with a few additional pools of used motor oil spattered around the house) and will give you a permanent case of warts.
But now there is a safer (and less medically expensive) way to waste your time. Instead of the motorway, you find yourself on the information super highway, where lightning fast speeds are the stuff of dreams (we’re still on the part of the information super highway that runs through Pakistan, the real unlimited speeds start somewhere around the German infoautobahn). Here, you can be whoever you want to be. There is something for everyone here, child molesters, pimps, KKK members, Taliban, closet Taliban and even the odd fascist literature student can find hours of fun on the internet. And don’t even get me started on all that porn you will never see.
But in the midst of the Social Network wars (which sounds like a bad Star Wars parody where Mark Zukerberg finds out that the Google doodle is really his deep-throated father), spare a thought for the poor user who has to sift through this social web of sex, lies and video chat. As a young lad new to the internet, he may have signed up for Hotmail account in the mid-90s and been totally bowled over by the ability to send a message to someone anywhere in the world and get a reply almost instantaneously. Then he would’ve been somewhat confused when the same task was completed much faster through thingamajigs such as the MSN and Yahoo! messengers, and would’ve been completely bewildered by the speed with which software such as mIRC and ICQ could land him a blind date. Then he would’ve signed up for an Orkut account, thinking that this would be similar to the spam e-mails he keeps getting from firstname.lastname@example.org. Much later, he would have stumbled upon Facebook and thought to himself, “This is something I can live with.” It is at this point that you would expect to hear the words, “… lived happily ever after.” However, that is not to be.
Since the advent of Facebook and the beginning of the age of inane status updates, our social experience has been shrinking. Twitter tried to squeeze our lives into 140 character-long experiences at a time. Linkedin just made everyone look snooty and official without adding anything to the experience of the internet. But now, there is a new kid in town. Google+, as the Big Brother empire of search engines likes to call its latest Frankenstein’s monster, is indeed an exercise in hi-tech futility. Just one click and you’re hooked. The blandness of the experience, the white wastelands of its monochromatic colour scheme and the total lack of people you know on the network makes it the ideal place to look for single chicks in your area. It also makes it the perfect tool for getting your life back. Not only does Google+ integrate Facetube and Youbook, it also has neat little compartments for your erstwhile blogs, e-mail addresses and any other public profile (which may or may not exist under the auspices of the Google empire). And of course, the Circles give you a great opportunity to sort out your friends, family and lets you separate the sexual deviants from the one-night stands.
So what does this mean for you? Nothing, in fact. Your life will not change, much. It’s just that all your stoner sessions will now take place over group video chat (safer in the long run, since the cops aren’t gonna get tech-savvy anytime soon). Major battles and sporting ties, such as Hollyfield VS Tyson and Shawn Michaels VS Bret Hart, will all take place in cyberspace. In fact, the war of the future will not be fought on land, over water or resources; it will be fought on the wastelands of Google+. Resistance is futile.