Happy Friday friends. It’s that time of the week. Friday, that is, when Society Diary cantankerously remerges from its blissfully peaceful, self-imposed exile to rake through the steaming muck of yet another week.
Theresa May has been in China this week, desperately tip-toeing around the country’s at best patchy human rights record in order to beg a post-Brexit trade deal and, well, it’d be embarrassing if we hadn’t already seen it all before. In other news from around the world, Trump wants to #releasethememo, whatever that is, and the Australian government has been humiliated after tens of thousands of highly classified government files found their way into the hands of the media, having been accidentally sold off in a couple of filing cabinets because someone couldn’t find the keys. Oh dear.
In charity sector satire this week: Well, let’s not muck around. We’re all here for one reason, and one reason only. The culture secretary has launched his own app and it might be the purest place in social media right now.
Diary thinks we can all agree that social media has become a digital hell-broth laden with Russian bots, misogynistic men’s rights ‘activists’, anonymous ranters, frog-meme Nazis and pseudo-intellectual conspiracy theory threaders. Oh, and that’s before one factors in the omnipresence of Donald J. Trump on Twitter. A fact that was bad enough before one was made aware – thanks a lot Piers Morgan – that the Cheesy-Wotsits-in-Chief tends to fire off his morning tweets while swaddled in his no-doubt gilded Presidential bedsheets.
Yes, it’s an indisputable fact that, in generations to come, Twitter will be held up as a cautionary tale – a fine idea hijacked by man’s boundless and eternal capacity for cruelty to its fellow man. This, ladies and gentleman, is literally the reason why we can’t have nice things.
Or so, at least, Diary thought. Until about 9am yesterday when, like the rays of the rising sun on the first day of spring or a cold change on the hottest day of the year, Matt Hancock launched his own personal app.
“Hi, I’m Matt Hancock and welcome to my app.” With those few words, Matt Hancock’s app opens to a video of him, smiling and intensely annunciating his every word like the lead in a secondary school production of Hamlet. “It’s a chance to find out what’s going on both in my role as MP for West Suffolk and as culture secretary,” he continues. “And most importantly it’s a chance for you to tell me what you think, and to engage with others on issues that matter to you.”
He may have done so unwittingly but it is a fact indisputable that Matt Hancock's app has saved social media. Not all heroes wear capes, in much the same way that not all Han’s necessarily need to be solo.
While the app was clearly designed predominantly with Hancock’s constituents in mind, it quite quickly became a refuge for the Westminster press pack to share their favourite Matt Hancock memes, salty gifs and generally take the piss out of the whole enterprise.
Exhibits A through to eternity:
The level of chat on this Matt Hancock app is immense pic.twitter.com/svmzL6UUTf— Alice Sharman (@aliceosharman) February 1, 2018
Nothing but respect for MY culture secretary’s official app pic.twitter.com/Stiy3KfqJF— Ned Donovan (@Ned_Donovan) February 1, 2018
Absolutely incredible scenes on the Hancock app as the man himself offers his adoring fans the full service pic.twitter.com/B238bbYhxG— Alan White (@aljwhite) February 1, 2018
Of course, as with all things that are good and pure and beautiful in this world, there were a few boo boys out with only hate in their hearts and the keen desire to throw a data protection spanner in social media's magnum opus.
Go ahead, report Matt Hancock to the Information Commissioner’s Office and see how far that gets you. No doubt everyone at the ICO, Elizabeth Denham included, are already on Matt Hancock, happily Matt Hancocking each other. Revelling in the troll free zone that is Matt Hancock. All trying to become friends with Matt Hancock on Matt Hancock. All posting photos of Matt Hancock to Matt Hancock on Matt Hancock through Matt Hancock.
Delete your other social media apps. They are all superfluous now, in the face of Matt Hancock. Matt Hancock, constantly posting on Matt Hancock. A picture of Matt Hancock bringing high-speed wi-fi to West Suffolk where, one constituent at a time, more and more people sign up to Matt Hancock, discuss Matt Hancock on Matt Hancock in Matt Hancock through Matt Hancock. Your mum, liking every post on Matt Hancock. Your father, face crinkled in confusion, asking you about Matt Hancock. Matt Hancock, livestreaming Matt Hancock, talking to Matt Hancock users on Matt Hancock. Are we not all now, within the confines of Matt Hancock at least, Matt Hancock?
Also, being the guy who’s in charge of the department which is in charge of the sector, how long will it be before a charity uses Matt Hancock to raise money? Cancer Research UK streaming a colonoscopy on Matt Hancock. A World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Matt Hancock. The London Marathon Matt Hancock. A ‘thanks for joining Matt Hancock, for just £3 a month you can…’ Matt Hancock.
Unfortunately Diary must report that so far charities are lagging behind in their use of social media.
Getting some great engagement over on Matt Hancock pic.twitter.com/1aeiknjXfI— Kirsty Weakley (@KirstyWeakley) February 1, 2018
Sun rise, sun set, Matt Hancock. Clear eyes, full hearts, Matt Hancock. The father, the son and the holy Matt Hancock.
Side note: Who will play Matt Hancock in the inevitable Hollywood film about the rise of the Matt Hancock social media network? Is Spielberg busy? Is Meryl Streep available? Has anyone brought the option yet?
Anyway, if you’re keen to see what existing in a digital, social space is like before it gets clogged up with fascists, white supremacists and football fans, why not sign up to Matt Hancock? Diary gives it until Monday before its overrun with pornographic images, spam-bots and religious extremists of all creeds. For now though, at least, it is pure... mostly.
Honestly the weirdest thing is that for two or so hours I’m pretty sure Matt Hancock fixed social media pic.twitter.com/6N0rQxflvm— Alan White (@aljwhite) February 1, 2018
A right royal donation
In other heart-warming news this week, everyone’s favourite princess has donated some of her own right royal locks to a children’s charity.
Yes, her royal Kateness, the Duchess of Cambridge, has (according to International Business Times, via the Daily Express *shudder*) “trimmed more than seven inches from her barnet” and donated it to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which supplies human hair wigs for young cancer patients.
Putting aside the use of the word ‘barnet’ while referring to the Duchess of Cambridge’s radiant lid, this is a story to soften the heart of even the most ardent Republican. Although, having said that, Kate could just as easily have donated her hair without being fully funded at all times by the taxpayer but… well, anyway, this column digresses.
The hair was reportedly sent “using an alias” – which seems highly unnecessary – but the sleuths over at the Express have sniffed out the royal locks and the charity is reportedly “delighted” with the donation.
Oh the tangled webs we weave. Or, something about wigging out.
News in briefs
Finally, to the internet, and the news that eBay is auctioning off the “world’s largest bra” all in the name of charity.
Yes, UK-based stag and hen do-specialists Chillsauce, are auctioning off a “giant pink bra on eBay and donating every penny the auction accumulates to Breast Cancer Care”. Made up of 270 metres of material, the massive mammary covering was created back in 2011 by the Chillsauce team to “show support for Wear it Pink Day”.
The eBay auction site lists the bra as “used” and says only the “bra material and Guinness World Record certificate” will be included in the winning package. Sadly the “metal frame” will not be. Bids start at £500 and, well, there haven’t been any bids yet.
Still, £500 seems like a steal for a 1360B cup size brassiere, particularly if you know any buildings in need of a little support…