– The New Social Media Craze (Live)

29/05/2013 17:27


Like every other journalist I'd wanted to interview him all week, since I read the headline: 'Spread yourself thick again. Have your friends with you (up to a limit of ten).' And now I'm here, after the press conference, at the back of a car park whose entrance is guarded by a battered caravan, to meet the face of, Mr. Vin Turn.


Just launched this week, is the newest social media craze and online phenomenon, whose supposed founder claims that the site will make friendships the world over 50% more “etuteric” in its first 12 months. Vin describes this new term as “a hybrid adjective of esoteric and exoteric – call it esoteric in a good way,” and explains that the vision is to place a high level of commitment back at the forefront of friendship and friendship choice, rather than abandoning members of the public to a fate of “tapping around wildly, as if trying to run 174 businesses at the same time” – a figure that Vin Turn's research has pinpointed as the amount of online-centred friendships that the average person has racked up; a made up figure, he assures me.

Backed by an executive board of Peter Panesque contributors, the roots of the revolutionary venture could at worst be described as haphazard, and at best insightful. “We first met in a forgotten cafe called Dimitri's, the ten of us. And something extremely powerful struck us about our number that led us to where we are today,” commented Mr. Turn. The group behind the idea have opted to remain firmly off-record and invisible, with the exception of Vin Turn, who drew the short straw of acting as their confederation's spokesperson as a result of his silly voice. “I drone, that means I'm qualified,” he informs me and the other interviewers in squeaking tones.


“But how does work?” was the main question being thrown down at this press conference, until Mr. Turn confidently explained at an offensive pitch: “Firstly the new user registers by uploading a photograph of their backpack to confirm to us that they have one; then they enter the names and facial images of their ten most live-without friends. At this point we send out our welcome pack to the new user, containing a ten-capacity egg box and a red lollipop. Upon its receipt the user completes their registration by entering the 24-hour gathering phase, which requires them to visit their selected ten friends in person and place each friend discretely, one by one, into the yellow egg box that they're carrying in their nominated profile bag (our egg boxes are standard egg box size, and so fit effortlessly into any backbag). This phase finishes and is validated once the user, within the 24 hours, uploads a picture of the full egg box onto their profile. An image of a tap will subsequently appear next to their name every time they log in. The tap demonstrates the user's continued commitment to maintaining obsessive friendships. Then all that remains is to enjoy and revel in the feeling of having your ten best friends with you, egg-boxed in your backpack, wherever you go. Ten is a good number. Think of a crisis moment in your life.... Victim of random stranger altercation? No problem! With you'll never be without your friends again. And the last important point to mention is that there is no obligation to log into our website after you've gathered and earned your tap, unless of course you want to substitute new friends – a difficult and painful process that we will always be on hand to assist you through, courtesy of our round-the-clock webchat service. So, you see..... from the point of registering, your social framework could drastically alter in as little as three days*! And it's all free.”

[Interviewer calls out through the excited din] Has adult society completely lost the pure obsessiveness of the friendships we knew in childhood, Mr. Turn?

[VT] Not any more. We're taking Epicurus' communal friendship ideal to a whole new level and delivering its possibility to everyone.


[Another interviewer, in between scribbling] Mr. Turn! Mr. Turn! Thank you. [Breathe] What about the human rights angle of keeping your friends in a backpack? What do you have to say about that?

[VT] The human rights angle is still under consultation, but we remain confident in the efficacy of our modern alternative solution to the social-flooding instinct. Thank you messages from our first few thousand users are already pouring in. The view of our confederation is that connections are one thing, but friends are another. And we need a dedicated social site to address the latter in a new way.... a new way that's very old; rooted in carry-about localisation. What our users are doing is as biological as an amino acid chain – it's decapeptide behaviour; it's natural.


[Woman at the back holding a dictaphone] Any final remarks, Mr. Turn?

[VT] We would like to publicly thank The Peanut Society of Lucubrators for volunteering the indefinite loan of their turbo manifesto: “Don't Settle for Less, don't settle for more,” which we have this morning voted to be the primary slogan for our expansion program.

Anyway, that was the press conference, and, like I said, I arranged to meet Vin afterwards, privately, in the car park; but before the interview could properly and politely finish, Vin Turn of evaporates and I find myself cardboard-wrapped in the man's bag. There may be something in this new craze, it feels strangely good here, like I'm part of something. I'm safe and not alone; there's free travel and I don't see anything. It's like being asleep in a dormitory where I'm remembered. And from the squeaking sounds I can make out through the bag, right now he seems to be in a bakery buying food for us. As every good interviewer must, I've burrowed deep enough to decide for myself. The world is moving in new ways and I'm in its backpack, along with the exponential thousands who are discovering daily. The rush is on to fill these yellow egg boxes. This new breed of social media alliance has arrived and it's exploding – P. H.



[* subject to postal delays. We endeavour to get you gathering as rapidly as possible, but please allow up to 10 working days for welcome pack delivery. For more information about delivery times, or about in general, please visit the FAQ section on our website]




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