Facecloth, which some people continue to insist on calling Facebook in spite of my cajoling, grows ever more ubiquitous. At times it really does seem to have taken over the world. Efforts by others to supplant it – Google+ for example – have only limited success, and I think this may be because the alternatives so far are too similar to Facecloth. There is also the fact that Zuckerberg and his minions adapt their monolith to ape the best features of their competitors. What this suggests to me is that if there is to be a social networking site that can consign Facecloth to the dustbin of history, it will have to be so far in advance of the original that little Mark will take one look at it, burst into tears, dismantle his entire operation, and retire from the fray. I think I have now come up with the goods, daddy-o.
My insight was granted by going back to basics, and considering the original name, Facecloth. Sorry, Facebook. As far as I am aware, this refers to the practice of American higher education colleges of issuing yearbooks containing snapshots and potted biographies of their students. Little Mark took that very simple format as the building block for world domination. But therein – I realised – lie the seeds of his destruction. Break the word in two. Face. Book. It is all so damned two-dimensional. Photographs of faces, gathered in a book of flat pages with printed words. It is just not good enough, even when modified and complicated and transformed into a global phenomenon on Het Internet. It seems clear to me that the whole thing needs to be shifted up into three dimensions. And that is the beauty of Headbag!
Just think. Why be satisfied with the face when you could have the whole head? And what kind of nincompoop would be happy with a book of flat paper pages when they could have a bag packed with solid objects? It is so blindingly obvious I am surprised nobody has thought of it before.
But perhaps they have, and have raised objections. After all, if you are going to stuff a bag full of heads, where are you going to get the heads from? We do not want to encourage those Islamist nutcases whose greatest joy in life, when not persecuting women, is to chop off the heads of infidels. But, using the kind of lateral thinking espoused by geniuses like Edward “Six Hats” De Bono, we need not cram our bag with human heads. Instead, we can use cabbages as a substitute. Carefully picked, cabbage heads are about the weight, size, and shape of human heads, and if you are pernickety you can always draw facial features on the cabbage with a magic marker, and apply a variety of superb and exciting hairstyles with cotton wool and glue. It is then a simple case of shoving, say, half a dozen or even a baker’s dozen of cabbages into a burlap sack of the appropriate size, and voila!, you have signed up to Headbag. You will receive a confirmatory metal tapping machine message, to which you should respond using a special code to demonstrate that you are a real person, toting a real bag, filled with real cabbages. Once that is received and processed and filed away in a filing cabinet drawer at Headbag HQ, you are off and away!
What we found, in our preliminary research, was that the best way to network with other Headbag users was to find a suitable three-dimensional real-world location and to gather there, each of you with your burlap sack of cabbages. Caves, particularly caves by the seaside, proved to be the best spots of all. A particular advantage is that they tend not to be haunted by anybody else. Vagrants, drunks, and riff-raff are all more likely to be found slumped in municipal parks and on the outskirts of leisure and retail facilities, whereas the caves we reconnoitred were empty. Occasionally there might be a small creeping creature of dubious provenance scuttling about, but they can always be stamped on or, if of a somewhat larger bulk, sprayed with a canister of some death-delivering chemical compound. When the cave is properly vacant, it makes for a splendid meeting-place for Headbag users. You might want to take along a torch or a Tilly lamp, and a packed lunch.
There are all sorts of rewarding ways that a group of persons each with a bag full of cabbages can interact. You probably don’t need me to tell you what they are. In fact, doing so would fatally undermine the sheer beauty of the Headbag experience, which is posited on giving users full control. There is none of that sneaky shenanigans going on in the background that you get with Facecloth. None of your details will be passed to sinister multinational corporations. You will not find a data trail linking you to unseemly or criminal activities. No, with Headbag, you can be sure your privacy is safe. You sit in a cave, by the sea, with other users, clutching your sack of cabbages, and do whatever you want to do, without Headbag HQ interfering in any way. All we ask is that you be very careful to scarper before the tide comes in, flooding the cave, as tides tend to do.
One question that often crops up at our marketing seminars is how we will make sufficient money from Headbag to reduce little Mark Zuckerberg to comparative penury and have him come grovelling to our door with a begging bowl. In the interests of robust transparency, I should point out that your burlap sack will carry advertising, stencilled on using luminous ink or paint which will be visible in the dank darkness of your cave. That is our only concession to the commercial realm. Please do not believe any stories you read in the press that we have plans to force users to rent their cabbages from us. You are free to buy them from your local greengrocer’s or hypermarket, or even to grow them yourself on your allotment, out beyond the viaduct by the railway tracks. That is the Headbag way, like it or lump it.
Onward to world domination!