Looking at social media from a different perspective.

 SUNDAY morning in the park. The sun was shining, the birds were out and children were playing ball games or taking their pets for a run.

It was the perfect photo opportunity, too good not to share. I pulled out my phone, took a quick snap and then chose a filter. I figured the sunset filter would work best; it gave everything a larger-than-life golden tinge.

“#lazysunday #funday #park #sun #dayoff #bliss #blessed”

Uploaded for all my friends to see. As I waited for responses, I quickly scanned through some other websites to see what was happening, when a voice shouted from across the park.

“Hey, <3----ShazziPie----<3!” it said cheerfully.

I froze. I hadn’t heard that name in years. It couldn’t be, please tell me it isn’t...

Yes, it was. The voice belonged to a guy in skinny jeans and a band t-shirt, hair falling past his neck where he kept his headphones. He was a lot skinnier than I remembered.

He saw me, and began walking over, a massive, cheesy grin on his face.

“I can’t believe it! <3----ShazziPie----<3, how’s it going?”

Oh well, no way of getting out of it now.

“Oh, hey MySpace! It’s been a while; how are you?”

“Me? Oh I’m great, yeah just going for a morning walk when I saw you sitting over here by yourself. So I figured I’d come and say hello! How long’s it been... five years or so?”

I nodded guiltily. “Yeah, something like that. Sorry, I meant to drop by at some point but, I don’t know, things kept getting in the way.”

MySpace shrugged, as if it didn’t matter to him either way. “It’s alright, I 100 per cent understand. No need to defend yourself or anything, I’m just saying hi! Anyway, what’s been happening? Are you still posting those 50 questions about yourself?”

“Not anymore, these days it’s mostly just gym memes and shots of the food I’m about to eat.”

 I smiled. “Hey, remember when I used to repost those stupid bulletins because I was scared a girl would creep into my room at midnight and stab me?”

He laughed. “Oh yes, you were so superstitious back then! I could tell you anything and you’d believe it! What about those blog posts where you’d combine poetry and My Chemical Romance lyrics?”

We were both in hysterics by now. “Oh yeah, I’d completely forgotten about those! Don’t worry, it was definitely a phase, trust me. Do you still have those by any chance?”

MySpace stopped laughing, his smile disappearing. “Um, no, actually. I sort of went through this revamp last year where I chucked out all the old stuff. Just making a fresh start, you know?”

“Oh.” I didn’t know what to say.

“But I’m really into music now! I’m really good friends with Justin Timberlake, so I’ve got this set-up where people can share their music with me and I can promote it.”

I smiled, genuinely happy for him. “That’s awesome! So it’s sort of like the thing that Pandora chick is doing?”

He winced at the name and seemed keen to change the subject. “So, are you still with... um...”

“Facebook? Yeah, still going strong.”  I gave him a slight smile.

“Oh, cool,” he said, looking at the ground. “Hope he’s treating you well.”

“He is, actually,” I replied, trying not to get too detailed. “He just gave me this new present where he tells me what other people are talking about so I can be on top of trends.”

“Is he still shoving that advertising down your throat?”  MySpace asked, his voice tinged with slight malice.

I started to get defensive. “He does, but so did you! It’s not he’s the first guy to ever do that to me.”

MySpace sighed. “Yeah, but I did it better.”

I turned to look at him. “Look, I’m sorry if I hurt you, and if you’re still hurt. But I’m not the girl you knew five years ago! Facebook had what I wanted, what I needed! I just... had to end it. I moved on... I think you should too.”

“Yeah, yeah, you don’t think I’ve heard this bullshit a million times before, from a million other people?” he asked, standing up. “Can’t you see how controlling he is? When you came to my place, you could decorate it however you wanted! Even if you wanted to cover it in hot pink with comic sans writing, I let you do it, because I was a nice guy. Jerkbook, on the other hand, it’s his way or the highway! Don’t you get bored of white and blue all the time, <3----ShazziPie----<3?”

I tried to stay calm, but it was hard to hold back the anger. I stood up as well. “First of all, my name isn’t <3----ShazziPie----<3, it’s Sharon Hollingsworth. Secondly, I am not in my gap year anymore! I don’t need to design backgrounds with comic sans and garish colours! I don’t want to play the same Panic! At The Disco song every time one of my friends comes to visit!

“I moved on. The world moved on! I’m not a kid fresh out of high school anymore, I’ve graduated university, I’m working and occasionally I’ll go to the gym or need to show my support for a political or humanitarian cause. Facebook lets me do that! He lets me be me!”

MySpace was shocked at my retort. He slowly sat down, back in his brooding, self-pitying state. “But I gave you so much. Who let you take your first mirror selfie? Who taught you basic HTML coding? Who listened to your every rant about school, all of your passive aggressive tirades against so-called friends without so much as a single complaint? I did! I made you the social networker you are today!

“I don’t really want to tell you this, but do you think Facebook likes you for you? No! He likes you because he can sell you out to advertisers, to other people interested in selling you every piece of unnecessary shit under the sun!”

“Oh please, don’t act as if you weren’t interested in my advertising revenue potential! You were giving my secrets to Rupert Murdoch the whole time, so you’re hardly innocent. Besides, at least Facebook keeps the door locked. The number of times I came to your place to find phishers and scammers had broken in; it was like you had no security!”

“Well at least I didn’t stalk you. I hear Facebook has a tendency to watch you in other places, always wanting to be there while you’re playing games, or looking at recipes, or even working out! He seems to want to shout everything you do from the rooftops! Doesn’t he ask you to tell him where you are all the time? And how does he feel about you hanging out with Twitter?”

MySpace had been stalking me! I was getting angry again. “My relationship with Twitter is strictly professional! Besides, you were always weird around my friends. You always kept asking me questions like, ‘Who’s your best friend? Who’s your second best friend? Who’s your third best friend?’ and so on and so forth, then you’d rank them! What kind of possessive weirdo does that? And Facebook doesn’t care whether I smoke or drink, or my star sign; you had this strange fascination with it.”

“I was just trying to learn more about you, I just wanted to-” he began, but was cut off as a large shadow loomed over the two of us.

Oh thank God, he’d returned! Tall, muscular, with short blond hair, a V-neck tee and blue jeans, he smiled down on both MySpace and I.

“This jerk bothering you, babe?” Facebook asked. “I was checking the GPS on your phone and noticed you were spending more time than usual in the park, so I came to see what was up.”

“Hey Facebook,” I cried, jumping into his arms and kissing him on the cheek. “No, no, no issue here. This is MySpace, he’s an old... friend.”

Facebook held his left arm around my shoulders and held out his right hand toward MySpace. “Hey bro, nice to meet you. Facebook’s my name.”

MySpace did not return the gesture. “We’ve met,” he said stiffly.

Facebook frowned slightly, then looked over at me and smiled. “So Sharon, I’ve heard this awful story about a boy dying of cancer who doctors won’t operate on unless a million people support his plight. Want to go have a look?”

“Oh, that sounds awful, that poor boy!” I said. “Take me there.”

I turned back to MySpace.

“See you later, MySpace. Good luck with your music and everything. Give Justin my regards.”

“See ya,” MySpace said, looking at the ground once again. As we walked away, Facebook squeezed my hand, a little too tightly. “Don’t worry babe,” he said. “I’ll always be looking out for you.”