EVERY noo an then, when ah’ve been starin at the same plug socket in the same waw for the third consecutive oor, it occurs tae me that ma life could dae wi a wee bit o a jump-stairt. It cannae gang on like this, the warld, thon dreary wash o soothin greys an limpid beiges picked oot tae keep ma dreams in monochrome. Ah’m at the end o ma tether here; ah’m desperate, Dan. Somethin’s got tae chynge.

An that’s usually when ah get ma phone oot an stairt scrollin throu Twitter.

Cause it’s like a jump-stairt cable tae the brain, is social media, a Taser blast straicht tae the medulla oblongata. Efter a mad hauf-oor oot on the peripheries o life, answerin phones or stackin shelves or staunin at a bus stop in the pourin rain, naethin maks ye feel mair connectit tae yer fellae man than the stylised disembowellings o Scottish Twitter, an endlessly repeatin series o rituals reminiscent o a pirate copy o a Sooth American soap opera. An jist as difficult tae switch aff.

Noo, ah dinnae really think o masel as bein addicted tae Twitter. Addiction is a muckle wird for sic a peerie habit. Ah hardly ever post on it, an it’s no like ah spend oors an oors on it at a go. Ah jist check in whenever ah’ve got a second spare – which is every 10 meenits – or when ah’m feelin physically anxious aboot whit ah micht be missin – which is every five.

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Och, ah ken, an ken. The warld wis better afore the internet; it’s kind o a glaikit take. Ah’ve ayeweys thocht o masel as a cyber-utopian, bi which ah mean a lazy scunner that disnae want tae dae the things he disnae want tae dae – gang doon the shops, staun in queues, interact wi ither human beings. Ah’m no the anely yin. Ten years syne, the Arab Spring had us dreamin o social media as social revolution, every user their ain Che Guevara. But if ye think o Twitter nooadays as onythin ither than a rolled-up newspaper pressed tae Donald Trump’s muckle gub, a Lovecraftian re-imaginin o Horton Hears A Who, ye’re bidin on a different planet. An guid luck tae ye up there an aw.

Cause it’s no jist the technology that’s chynged. It’s us as weel. Dae ye mind thon stushie ower national identity cairds? Fowk were pure daein their nuts; government intrusion this, Nazi Germany that. It aw seems gey quaint noo, thon notion o privacy, in an era whaur we’re never aff-grid for langer than it taks tae drive throu the Clyde Tunnel, an whaur if we dinnae let Mark Zuckerberg an his sponsors ken whit we had for tea, it micht as weel no hae happened. Whit government wad fash themsels tae microchip us noo, when maist o us wad raither lose oor richt airm than oor iPhone?

These are strange times we live in, an mebbe privacy’s no aw it’s cracked up tae be. It’s nice when Netflix kens whit film ye’re up for watchin. It’s nice when the Tory candidate kens better than tae darken yer doorstane. It’s nice when Facebook wirks oot wha yer pals are, an whit team ye support, an whaur ye were on the nicht o the 13th. An if the algorithms can jist suss oot how tae tak ma bins oot, ah’ll be able tae cut oot the middle man awthegither an fling masel unner a bus, safe in the knawledge that ma life will cairry on mair or less the same withoot me.

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But assumin, for whitever reason, ah opt no tae get ma heavy buits on an walk oot intae the sea; assumin, for whitever reason, ah elect in this cruel warld tae draw ma breith in pain; ah cannae keep daein it like this. It’s no the nastiness o Twitter that gets me, the sheer partisanship. It’s no that ither fowk’s opinions hurt ma precious feelins. It’s the emptiness, an the wey thon emptiness expands like a black hole until it taks up everythin. Life is Twitter, Twitter life; existence a haltin spool o dour distractions frae the darg o bein.

For it’s a weird thing, this business o livin aff-line. O noticin whit colour the sky is, o haein ambitions for yersel ayont the cheerless accumulation o likes an MeowMeowBeenz. O bein the protagonist o yer life, raither than its ghaistly, aff-screen narrator. Ah cannae really recommend it. But it’s the anely gemme in toon.

As the election results fell doon aroond oor heids like a collapsin sky, an the Twittersphere devolved intae wan lang yowl o howpless, finger-pyntin agony, wha could be blamed for thinkin that this, THIS wis whit it meant tae be connectit – tae be yin o a haunfu o virtual avatars pickin throu the lucky midden o oor shattered warld, thon shared landscape o itherwise solipsistic misery, this collective scream intae a digital void? An wha, but for a few hunner fowk takkin tae the streets o Glesga on a frozen Friday nicht, wad hae remembered – there was a warld elsewhaur?

The problem wi media isnae that it’s mainstream or alternative, social or biased. The problem wi the media is that it mediates. It gets atween us an whit we’re ettlin tae win tae – the facts, the stories. Each ither. Oorsels. It’s isnae politics that divides us noo, but the muckle sortin haun o Big Data, parcellin us up an divvyin us oot tae the highest bidder. “Say it loud and say it clear – refugees are welcome here!” An as the fowk o Glesga chanted an mairched, ah kent wha they were singin tae. It wisnae jist the poor sowels fae Syria an Sudan. It wis aw o us, watchin at hame on oor mobile phones. Likin an commentin an retweeting awa. Exiles even fae oor ain lives. Refugees fae oorsels.