Imagine you went to a store looking for a TV. No salesperson appears and the store feels empty. Nervously, you make a comment to someone else looking at the TVs “Not sure how service works around here!”. They smile and offer some friendly advice as you to pick one out.

With a quick “thanks” you part-company and head for the cash-register, only to discover your fellow shopper is in fact an employee.

“Great choice!” they chime. As you stand wondering what just happened, another woman appears and gives the employee a crisp $100 note saying “For persuading this customer”. They are now both grinning at you, which makes them look like perfect Regina Spekor clones. Almost instantly, the store is flooded with people you don’t know, congratulating you, waving banners with your name on them, shaking your hand and telling you how great you are.

This is how the pervasive-con works, except all this happens in your semi-lucid imagination, in a sort of text-based role play game in the genre of Twin Peaks. Social-media feels like watching a melodramatic portrayal of quirky characters engaged in morally dubious activities.

It’s not privacy on the Internet that worries me most, it is the intentional and imagined deception. Being on Twitter is like trying to work out who killed Laura Palmer and buy the best TV at the same time.

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