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My social network

A short story by
Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher

A tale from the future, or the present too. It always depends on where you choose to travel with your own imagination...

That’s peace, that’s what I called serenity.
All thanks to the new world where I was born.
To be honest, to those who designed, implemented and sold it.
I've got peace, now.
Especially tonight, this early spring’ Saturday, under the shelter of my beloved apartment, my very thick walls, the surgically armored front door and all the fabulous double glazing windows.
May the sacred operating system, which controls all of us, bless them.
I’m calm, finally, because my diligent voice assistant just told me that I have no other option available, since I have reached the maximum level of quiet within the social media.
I've always called it my social network, despite it has become a colossal spider web as big as the planet itself.
Yes, I know. It sounds disturbing. It looks like the work of an evil creature who longs to trap the naive people of the earth, unaware of being destined to become food for the monster. But these are delusions from conspiracy maniacs, who never disappear, unfortunately.
It's not my case.
I learned the lesson. It took me a while like everyone else, but finally I recognized and profited from the advantages of the digital relationship.
Three among the many: first, nobody forces us to disagree. Second, nobody forces us to listen to other people's dissent. Third, no one can agree with our thinking better than ourselves.
On the other hand it’s the system itself, with its cookies and the incessant collection of our data, that pushes us to connect only with those who think like us.
I still remember when I started this slow but inexorable journey towards the goal I just reached.

It was after the umpteenth discussion with Mark91.
By the way, we’ve been friends for more than thirty years and it’s only for that I had not yet blocked him, but he had no better hobby than contradict my statements.
Friends... I never even met him, actually. I only know that he is passionate about fishing, that he was born in 1991, or at least I believe so for his name, and that he has the face of Snoopy. I’m not saying that he looks like the latter, right? I mean that he has always shown exactly the famous cartoon character as avatar, that’s all.
On the other hand, today friendship and any other type of relationship are just these. With the freezing cold outside, who wants to put the nose out?
Well, he was the first that I kicked out from the list.
I still remember the words, which then became a sort of daily refrain: "Lisa - my voice assistant is called like my late mother - delete Mark91 from the friends list."
It was only the beginning of a real carnage.
"Lisa, get rid of all those who stutter."
Listen, I can't stand them. Someone could bring up the fact that the guy who my ex-wife betrayed me was a heavy stutterer, but I didn't want to go into it, okay?
Peace and serenity were my priorities and I wasn’t afraid of cutting off every annoying branch.
"Lisa", I continued, "exclude from the list all those taller than myself."
"Both males, females and others?".
Affirmative, I said. The comparison with other people in a position of inferiority makes me uncomfortable.
"Lisa, expel all vegetarian and environmentalist people in general."
I mean, the glaciation has now arrived. I couldn't stand greens and energy-saving fanatics before, let alone now.
In any case, I went on like this for days, it took me almost two months, but in the end I managed to eradicate from my friendly archive all the persons who could in any way cause me the slightest irritation.
From those with too long hair to those who comment with too many hearts, from those who never offer a like on what I say to those who never reply a private message, from those who boast themselves with tons of photos of their fantastic journeys in wonderful places to those who have all the time in the world to share their thoughts, but not even a second to read yours, etc.
And you have no idea how vast the last etcetera might be.
That's why, a little while ago, Lisa told me the extraordinary news.
"Congratulations," she exclaimed with a digital but radiant voice’s tone. "You have just risen to the social level called nirvana."
"What do you mean, Lisa?" I asked excitedly.
"You have reached the dimension of absolute calm."
"You entered the elite realm of hermits."
"Lisa... can you explain better?"
"You cleared the friends list, dude."
Oops, I muttered, going down to the couch. I've done it.
Now I have the absolute certainty that, whenever I connect, nobody will be able to interfere in any way with my peace and my serenity.
I can finally say, without fear of denial, that I’m on my social network.
Am I right?
Do you agree?
Is anybody out there?
Please don't leave me alone...
Lisa? Are you there, at least you?
I haven't canceled you yet, have I?

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