Journalist Tanya Gold has had a serious Facebook and Twitter habit for years. As she scrolls down through thousands of old posts, what does she discover about herself?
There is a photograph of me, on Twitter, with Jimmy Savile. I put my name into Twitter, searching idly, and there it is. The photo was taken about 10 years ago. We are at his flat in Leeds. He is in an executive chair, expansive, talking rubbish. I am on the sofa, much younger and thinner, with my “interested” face on. I wore my interested face because I knew he had a secret and I hoped he would share it. He didn’t, of course, although I left that ghastly flat fairly certain he hated women. I look at it now and think – at least there isn’t a photograph of me wearing his shoes on Twitter. Which I did. I have no idea why. Perhaps it was boredom.
I have two internet selves that I create personally, sporadically and with a fair amount of despair. I have Facebook, on which I appear 15, and Twitter, on which I am 45, and getting older every moment. Twitter is more ageing than sunlight. Fighting about serious matters with emoticons will do that to you. So will being a social democrat or, to give it the name it goes by these days – the far right.