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Connected to all the wrong things

Published Dec 29, 2012 02:06pm


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An increasing number of ordinary people feel the need to live their lives in public. Not entertainers or people in the public eye, but everyday people like neighbours, friends and people I work with.

They tweet their every thought, their every action, write on facebook their deepest fears and darkest problems. No matter how disturbing, how ridiculous, how private, they will give a run down in great detail on matters that once were kept private.

On Christmas day, I logged onto Facebook to find people giving a run down of their day, every 10 minutes.

“How the hell is this going to fit in my oven? Turkey for the next month I think!” Photographs the turkey and posts it alongside the update.

“My Turkey is so big; I think it’s been on steroids.”

“I’m going to peel and steam and roast the vegetables, whilst watching the old boots speech at 3.”

“Just honey glazed the veg.”

“Christmas dinner just went tits up as I served the starter. My husband is doing the washing up and my daughter has just spilt a drink all over my carpet.”

“Seriously been smashed by my dinner, so we’re off out for a walk to burn some calories.”

“Run out of weed to smoke, so going hunting.”

“I have finally realised that I am really lonely. No one has the capacity to look after me, I am obviously too much to cope with, so I’ve made a decision to throw myself into my work in the New Year. Thanks to anyone who cares enough to read this.”

These are posts written by people who are my ‘friends’. When I say friends I mean facebook friends. Some are real friends who I’ve known a long time, some are fans that know my work, and most I don’t know at all.

If ‘friend’ means someone you don’t know but like or admire, then I’m friends with Quentin Tarantino, Bob Dylan and Joan Rivers.

Some people will read these posts and laugh, some will ignore it, some will tell their friends how crazy it is and discuss it. Few will truly care.

I know the deepest thoughts and feelings of people I don’t know, I’ve seen pictures of their kids I will never meet, I’ve seen the inside of their house I will never go to, I know what they got for Christmas and how big their turkey was.

If I wanted to I could probably see a video of them having sex with a former girlfriend/boyfriend (Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, Tulisa Contostavlos, Colin Farrell, Kid Rock).

Why do I know these things about people? I don’t want to but I do.

People expressing their every breath, every second will ultimately dilute the magic of intimate relationships and the unspoken mystery that exists between human beings. That enigmatic ambiguity that exists when we don’t have facts about a person, and therefore makes us generate some kind effort to find out for ourselves what it is that interests us about someone.

Or will there come a time when we know so much about so many that we’ll just think, ‘Oh I don’t want to know her in real life, she’s a crap cook and she’s got green carpets with curtains that don’t match’.

Maybe everyone is just fooling everyone. Maybe people just want others to think they’ve got a wonderful life, they’re having a great day, everyone’s happy in the photos, and they all got the underwear they wanted for Christmas. One person will be brave enough to say what they really feel, and others will think ‘Oh what a sad life she’s got’ but never do any more than that. But if you were having that much of a great time, you wouldn’t have the time to be documenting it every three minutes.

My brain is full of frivolous facts and information, about inconsequential people, yet I haven’t spoken to my own neighbour for months and months. She’s 86, not on Facebook – too busy trying to stay alive.

I’m on Facebook and Twitter, I use it to promote my shows but that’s it. I don’t post pictures of my new settee or my calorie controlled diet. If I like someone in real life, I spend more time with them. I don’t put a tick on their face or send them a message and I don’t join groups ‘liking’ betting shops and hairstyles.

We might think we’re better connected than ever, but in some ways we’re not connected at all, or connected to the wrong things and wrong people.

I think the time has come to go back in time, and live in the moment.

Shazia's new stand up comedy tour 'Cukooland' starts February 1st. For dates and tickets see:


The author is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Shazia Mirza is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website. Follow her on Twitter @shaziamirza1.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (25) Closed

anila Jan 01, 2013 08:59am
very true.. nice article
Chaman Dec 30, 2012 12:17pm
It is an issue of people being so busy and seperated geographically. Modern technology has the provided the answers to people's needs. However frivolous some of the comments may seem but the good thing is that people stay connected and get a chance to share their thoughts, frustrations or nice things happening in their lives. I have found friends that I never thought I would ever find in my life time.
Rice Exporter Dec 31, 2012 11:08pm
Nice article. Issues related to overuse of social media are of serious concern.
ranjeeta mahraj Dec 30, 2012 01:50am
agreed ... & great piece of writhing
Chhaya Mehta Dec 29, 2012 03:01pm
This is one of the few genuine media posts I've come across on facebook in a long while. Thank you Shazia, I've enjoyed your occasional column in the Guardian. Good luck with the tour, and hope to read more of you here. Must say I find people's self obsessed updates and photos fascinating too, though do tend to post motivational material myself. Makes a change from getting depressed watching or reading the news:)
Cyrus Howell Dec 29, 2012 11:24pm
Yes. It is dizzying. As we say in the Black idiom, Their lives ain't about nothing. They make people confused about whether they are supposed to laugh or cry.
Cynical Dec 29, 2012 06:25pm
Good read.
Aiman Dec 30, 2012 10:24am
this is inevitable. every word you've published down here is true but the more thorne-ical fact is you yourself can't avoid it or live the life as it was before. Every generation passed has something to find charm or soothe in so i think this is one thing you can write 1000s of pages upon but can't go against any word of it.
Omar Dec 29, 2012 10:25pm
''But if you were having that much of a great time, you wouldn
An old Grandma Dec 30, 2012 05:39pm
An 85 Years old GrandMa...I dont agree to what you have written... a living all alone in suburbs of cold london
Hamid Dec 30, 2012 04:38am
In my opinion Facebook and other social networking website are somehow significant if the person make right use of it, they have to advertise or markets his business very easily through this, and people stay connected with those friends or relatives that are far away and more significant in life,but some people gives 3 to 4 hours or more hours that shows they have no work in life except facebook.That's indeed bad and nothing to get from it.
Mohsin Dec 29, 2012 06:04pm
My own thoughts expressed so profoundly... ! great piece
Subbwarwal Dec 29, 2012 08:59pm
Thankyou for such a great piece. You have voiced what most people think but are too afraid to say. The world is full of lonely people and some people find comfort in things like Facebook and Twitter. Thankyou for the truth. You are truly a great writer and voice of our time.
Imran Dec 29, 2012 04:14pm
Thats all very true indeed. FB is mostly used for showing off and attention seeking.
muhammadanasabbasjamal Dec 29, 2012 04:16pm
This is well written. I am very much satisfied with this. :)
chandu Dec 30, 2012 08:35am
Well written,its platform for all self add campaigners and hope it doesnt turn into mental dis order
kumar Dec 30, 2012 08:33am
Well written,Some use these virtual medium as a self add campaign ,this trend will continue as social mental disorder .
Asif Dec 30, 2012 10:19pm
Good stuff Shazia !!
shahhussain Dec 30, 2012 07:47am
one of the best article amidst so much depression! :) You have spoken every bit of my heart!
Ahmed Dec 31, 2012 06:31am
Good to know that you are friends with the sick man Quentin Tarantino.
Tariq Dec 31, 2012 04:29pm
Social media sites are a dead waste of time! All those who use them have too much time on their hands and need to get a life!!
tehseen Dec 31, 2012 07:00am
Its the Globalization reached to its next level. One can't control it.
Obaid Saeed Dec 31, 2012 06:48am
Very much true i gues we pepl are trying to show off, to prove we are betr & spending a happy life agree to this article
Ali Dec 31, 2012 05:07am
I truly agree with you Shazia
ranjeeta mahraj Dec 31, 2012 05:41am