Khaya Dlanga

Love in a time of social networks

2011-05-17 09:55

Khaya Dlanga

It was the best of tweets, it was the worst of tweets, it was an age of Direct Messages, it was an epoch of Facebook status updates, it was an epoch of retweets, it was a season of avatars, it was a season of Facebook status comments, we had nothing before it, we had everything after it; in short, everyone heard us, but nobody listened to us, we were all friends, we were all lonely...

The first time he noticed her was from a response she made to his tweet. He doesn’t remember her reply though. But the picture, or as the people on the social networks call it, the “avatar” was a site, I mean, sight to behold. He replied and then followed her back immediately. Not long after, he sent her a DM. She didn’t respond.

Every time someone sent him a private message he would look only to be met with cyber disappointment, cyber silence. Yet she was tweeting and not responding to him. “I’m sorry if I offended you,” he DMed her. “Uunless you feel I didn’t offend you enough.” He knew this was a risk too but he took it. Her response was immediate. She laughed and called him silly. #TheSocialMediaGods are with me he said to himself. *air punch*  

What came next truly surprised him. When he went to other side of the tracks (Facebook), he discovered he had been poked by none other than nice Miss Avatar. He pokes back. She pokes back. He pokes. She pokes back. He pokes back. She pokes. He pokes. She doesn’t poke back but sends him a friend request instead and he does an air punch and does not care about the Windhoek guy coming to him to ask him what he was doing.

Just when he thought things couldn't get any better, she sends him a message: “I noticed on your tweets that it says, ‘Twitter for BlackBerry’. Well, here’s my BBM pin. Let’s chat!” Then she ell o ells (that’s LOL to you). He thinks this is a match made in Social Media Heaven.

They begin to BBM back and forth, all day and all night. Suddenly they have “insomnia”, which would have been cured immediately if they got off their BlackBerrys of course. They become less sociable with people in their presence but ever more present with each other even though they are nowhere near one another.

They organise to meet. It as if they have known each other for years when they meet. He discovers that the phrases she uses on BBM chat are actually phrases she uses in real life. The awkwardness that one would expect is less pronounced. There is nothing much to prove because they shared parts of who they are in their distance.

They have a great day together. She writes on her BBM status update after the date: “OMG I had the best day ever! BBM heart, BBM hearts in eyes, BBM blushing face and BBM dancing emoticon.”

It is not long before she starts tweeting incomprehensible tweets like: “:-).” That’s it. That’s the tweet. Other tweets are interspersed with hearts. And things like, “What a great feeling.” And no sooner that happens there is a change from “Single” on Facebook to “In a Relationship”. She presses him to do the same. He refuses. She presses some more.

“Why don’t you want to change your relationship status? In fact, you have to say you are in a relationship with me.” He says he doesn’t want people knowing his business. Eventually he succumbs. Her friends comment on the change of relationship status update. Many click like on the new status update - even those who are not happy that she is in a relationship fake happiness for her for her newfound love.

Then without warning things turn for the worst. She subliminally tweet: “How can you greet the whole world on Twitter before you greet me?!” Another one after that one: “You are not in a relationship with the world. I am your girlfriend!” (Don’t know how subliminal it truly is if we can tell that it is in fact subliminal).

People no longer wear their hearts on their sleeves, but on their BBM and Facebook status updates.

She unfollows him on Twitter. He subliminally tweets “Duces” and proceeds to unfollow her. She changes her relationship status update and unfriends him. As much as they have unfollowed each other, common friends still retweet and reply to their tweets which ultimately mean they still see each other tweets anyway. They may be out of sight, but they are not out of site. As much as they want to forget about each other, social media makes sure they are constantly aware of what the other is doing.  

Then one day she tweets him a simple, “Hi.” He replies, “; -)”. The cycle starts all over again as they start following each another.  This is love in a time of social media.

- Follow Khaya on Twitter.

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