Socially Alone

The Sardine sees Frank Weathers and Joe T. at the bar.  They barely look over. Each one is laboring on a small electronic device. What are you doing?

“Updating our social media diaries,” says Frank. “I’m tweeting that you just came into the bar.”

“I’m updating for my friends on Facebook that you came into the bar,” says Joe T.

So, that’s the way we say “hello”. How significant could my coming into the Attic Bar be?

“People want to know everything,” says Frank, “the moment it happens.”

The Logged-in Public: There’s no more old news. It’s all new.

“It’s also part of my autobiography,” says Joe.


“I found a way to write the book that I could never write. Up-to-the-second accounts of everything that happens to me. Nothing is left out.”

What excuse do you have, Frank?

“You don’t realize, Sard,” Frank continues, “how many people follow my tweets.”

Twenty? Thirty?

“More like twenty thousand.”

I don’t believe it.

“I have several thousand friends on Facebook,” Joe adds.

“He even gave me a friend request,” says Wal-terr.

“I was desperate to get to a thousand. I asked at least twenty ex-girlfriends to connect with me.”

“Are you following me on Twitter?” asks Frank.

I don’t have an account.

“Well, get one. My God, you’re worth a thousand people if you follow me.”

So I can comment on your tweet about my coming into the bar.

“As it is happening.”

“Cool,” says Joe. “Sard, you must have a Facebook account. Half the world does.”

The Sardine is silent but his blood pressure is rising.

L-I P: How are you going to sustain your public? The Internet is passé. It’s the day before the day before yesterday when it comes to communicating with the public. You have to think smaller and more quickly. 140 characters at a time. No one is going to read long articles.

You’re telling me the Internet is dead. And my articles are usually 700 words.

“About 640 too many,” says Frank.

L-I P: We’ve stopped using email. You’re so . . .history. Done. Ancient. Above it all.

So I should forget rebooting the Sardine column.

“Just tweet your latest stories,” says Frank.

I can’t do that in three sentences.

“It can’t be that hard to reduce it. Before long you’ll have more people following you than had read the first sixty-nine episodes combined.”

“Or use Facebook,” says Joe. “Take some pictures. Develop some nifty sayings. Most of my friends will friend and follow you. As long as you don’t criticize them.”

L-I P: It’s a world of “Like” and nothing else. We’ve entered a world of mutual agreement. Dislikes and negativity will not be tolerated.

Then they all returned to their social media. The Sardine’s been virtually abandoned: they are around him physically but do not take notice of him.

L-I P: You’ve achieved what you’ve long desired. Not to be bothered.

They want the column reduced to pablum and applesauce. Squeaks, burps, and hiccups of ideas and observations.

L-I P: [silence]

“Did you say something, Sard?” asks Frank.

Has McNulty been in?

“Wait. I’ve got to tweet what you asked me.”

Joe T. didn’t even hear me, too absorbed in recording the fact that he was recording the last few minutes on Facebook.

Wal-terr was watching something on his phone, probably pornography. Maybe someone in the bar was recording this entire episode.



Bob Castle, a.k.a A Sardine on Vacation has regularly published articles for Bright Lights Film Journal since 2000 and in 2020 his novel, The Hidden Life, was published.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Saturday, June 15, 2024 - 21:00