Look, you’ve likely sat through sufficient New Years Eves to learn that nothing is going to shift your insolvable existential woe apart from a) a timely chunk of debris from space or b) a sizeable lottery win (from which you will emerge, phoenix-like, as one half of a bovine middle-aged couple from Rochdale bent on keeping their fag-stained curtains circa 1974).
Over the past few weeks I may or may not (mostly not) have conducted extensive research into the psychological triggers that cause people to create glorious, ambitious goals for the forthcoming year then romanticise on Facebook about the soon-to-be more healthsome incarnation of themselves, like some sort of wizened Hare Krishna show pony. Yes we all want to be skinnier, thriftier and less of a c**t, but what would REALLY enhance the Facebook experience for your friends is to eschew positivity in favour of the reason behind your intent. For example:
“Going to smash the gym in 2013!!” No – using the Victoria line seats as a barometer, your bottom has been at ‘snug’ since October and this is occupying too much headspace.
Amongst all the “Making more time for friends and family in 2013”s, there’s bound to be one borne of self-hatred from someone who shat their pants at Christmas on realising a grandparent they’d assumed was dead was in fact still very much alive. Perhaps just me. Who knows.
“Giving up smoking for 2013!” largely gets said by those who took it up in 2012 so as not to be sat alone while everyone else went out for a fag. Smoking has subsequently changed nothing and their friends have simply adapted new ways to go elsewhere and bitch about them.
“No more drinking…this is the new, improved me”, simply put: “Please acknowledge that my social life is mental enough to warrant a spate on the wagon. And in any case, my STI count has now exceeded the number of fingers I have to count them on.”
There’s something inherently soothing about making New Year’s resolution lists. Lists calm the nerves and give our lives a sense of purpose. However I have deduced through years of crafting then failing at lists, that they should be taken at face-value for what they really are: a singular directory of your shortcomings as a human being. A list of abstract letters-to-the-universe that if realised would render you a bionic, sexy, superhuman version of yourself, which by the eighth of January you will have folded up to use as a toothpick.
Akin to watching Nigella fellate her own golden syrup-covered finger, it’s immensely pleasurable to witness the less evolved among us set ourselves up to fall on Facebook. The photos of people whose resolutions involve weight loss will invariably catalogue their rapid descent into obesity while for defiant quitters, the fag-in-hand-to-photo ratio has re-visited terminal velocity by about March. What Facebook ought to do is create an algorithm that detects keywords pertaining to your New Year’s resolution then send you subsequent monthly reminders that linger in the background, like placid monks, asking how it’s all going (via tagged posts on your Timeline, OBVZ). Less a motivational tool, more a form of minimally invasive cyber-electro shock therapy to rid us of the notion that saying it out loud will a) make anyone else give a rat’s arse or b) make it happen – in the words of the great Taylor Swift – like, ever.
This is the first of 4 guest posts from social marketing and media guru Leila Guddoy.
In Leila’s own words she is an “Average social media marketer working for innovations lab Gamaroff Digital. Essentially I get paid to sit on Facebook all day. This leads to all kinds of interesting observations of the human and marketing ilk, some of which are too astute to be communicated directly to the offender (read: I’m spineless) so I find myself on here, joyously ranting sans frontières. ”
Follow Leila on Twitter @LeilaG