The men’s changing room theory of social media

I’ve been thinking a bit about social media lately, and it strikes me that the whole thing is exactly like a men’s changing room (swimming pool or gym rather than clothes shop).

Now, I must admit that it’s been about fifteen or twenty years since I was last in one but I have a feeling they haven’t really changed much. They all smell of bollock and are inhabited by one of three types:

1: Mr Sheepish. This bloke is very shy and reserved. He wants no one to see his lower portion so he might well shower with his trunks on and put his pants on under a towel. In social media terms he either doesn’t get involved at all or he joined Facebook a couple of years ago but never updates his status. He doesn’t see why anyone would want to share what they’re doing with all and sundry. Can’t some things just remain private? However, although he doesn’t want anyone to see his business, he does like a sneaky peak at the photos of his teenage daughter’s friends on their diving holiday, just to see that they were behaving themselves (and to inspire an unfathomably guilty wank).

2. Mr Average neither tries to hide nor makes an exhibition of himself. Getting changed is a largely functional process that gets him from the outside world to the pool and back again. For him, social media is good to keep in touch, share a few pics and maybe organise a party, but he’s not much of a Twitterer (just follows Stephen Fry, Lady Gaga and his boss) and he’d never go as far as Four Square because he doesn’t actually want everyone knowing that he’s down the pub when he should be working on a spread sheet about yellow fat marketing.

3. Mr ‘Coo-ee! Get a load of my cock!’. This is the chap who behaves exactly as he does in the office, but with his genitalia on full display. Whether chatting to friends or demonstrating karate kicks, he’ll do so apparently unaware that his meat and two veg and flying hither and yon in a most unseemly fashion. In social media terms this is the guy who signed up to Twitter when the rest of us thought it was as sad as voluntarily watching Love Actually. He went through Bebo and MySpace, perhaps even creating a wang-out avatar for Second Life, and now ‘Likes’ everything from Vin Diesel to Cif, joins ten Facebook groups a week and updates Foursquare when he goes from the bathroom to the kitchen.

I’ve never been in a woman’s changing room, but I’ve seen a few (Carrie, Porky’s, Bring It On etc.) and imagine they are pretty similar places, just with more tits and fannies and fewer penii.