Virtual Unreality

I’ve never really got on with computer games or social networking sites, indeed the use of the word ‘gaming’ in conversation brings me out in hives. Millions of young, tech-savvy professionals – I use the words loosely, use Twitter and Facebook on their iPubs or whatever to ‘keep in touch” with such blithering, mindless inanity as ‘what are you doing now?’ The answer to which, in all probability is “you don’t really want to know”. As friends will tell you, should you text them and ask, this is because I’m a complete troglodyte who believes in the rather quaint notion that people aren’t remotely interested in what I had for breakfast or which brand of toothpaste I happen to have picked off the shelf; instead anyone with whom I want to have meaningful contact with does me the courtesy of personal interaction. The newest kid on the block is something imaginatively entitled “Foursquare”. The only time I have previously run across the term was in the context of Aimee Semple McPherson and the birth of American Pentecostalism. Foursquare is a little bit of everything—a friend-finder, a local city guide, an interactive mobile game,” said company cofounder Dennis Crowley, as if reading from the same tired script used by every one of these Web 2.0.1 or whatever-the-hell-they’re-called startups. “But more than that, Foursquare is an [endless string of meaningless buzzwords I just couldn’t bring myself to write down] I can feel my eyeballs melting.
Foursquare works by allowing users to “check in” from their present location, which might be a restaurant, coffee shop or (very probably) gentlemen’s convenience and in so doing, they can earn tangible, real-world rewards. For instance, the Foursquare user with the most points at any given venue earns the designation of “mayor” and can receive discounts, free food, or other “giveaways” that, quite honestly, I’m appalled at myself for having actually researched. I can’t imagine being “Mayor of Starbucks in King’s Cross” on the best day I ever had. Somebody please shoot me. Such ephemera is grist to its founder’s mill, who comments ‘it’s a unique and transformative social networking tool”. The guy has a PhD, for Heaven’s sake. I intend to strenuously resist throwing myself at the latest mobile technology trend in a humiliatingly futile attempt to remain relevant. Oh, God, all right then. Here’s the link.

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