I’m glad to leave this trend alone

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There must be a point in everybody’s life when they ask, ‘I am not sure if I belong here anymore’, as if the world has moved into a different gear and left them behind.

I always used to think that, as somebody who works in the media, I would always be alive to the changes and shifts in trends around me before they actually happened.

But my descent into a semi-permanent state of middle-aged bemusement began this weekend when I became briefly seduced by the facile debate around micro-cheating. Before you ask, it has nothing to do with illicit affairs involving small people.

Micro-cheating was brought to our attention by an Australian psychologist called Melanie Schilling, who warned the world about this new trend, which involves people secretly getting in touch with old flames without telling their current partners.

Melanie, a relationship specialist well known to television audiences Down Under, warned we could be engaging in micro-cheating if “you secretly connect with another person on social media, if you share private jokes.”

You would be forgiven for thinking that micro-cheating is a passing fad. But, judging by the thousands of words which have been written about it already, I have a hunch it’s one of those irritating terms which could find its way into the lexicon.

Of course, it shouldn’t trouble the vast majority of us, and I am with the internet sage who wrote that it was “the first dumbest thing of 2018.”

It remains to be seen whether the spectre of being labelled a micro-cheat will harm the user numbers of social media platforms such as Facebook. I would suggest that one of the major appeals of Facebook is that it allows us, the user, a window into the world of our ‘friends’, whether we like them or not.

This makes identifying micro-cheating even more difficult because in effect, we share parts or, in some cases, all of our lives with relative strangers, never mind people we once shared a toothbrush with.

Micro-cheating is most certainly a 21st century stigma we can do without.

I am glad I am out of it.