My Big Mac achieved international stardom and I didn't even get a lousy T-shirt

What a strange week or so it's been. A Big Mac I bought and kept for two months got global media attention and kind of went viral. I'd been working towards something like this happening for several years with all manner of random online projects. For a brief time, this Big Mac thing seemed like it was becoming my defining moment.

How it all began

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my Pet Big Mac project. To sum up, I bought a Big Mac, forgot about it, found it again and then kept it as a kind of "pet", taking daily photos of the Big Mac doing various activities.

The idea of the project all along was for it to go viral, although I wasn't expecting this to happen until maybe 6 months in. But a couple of months into the experiment, the Big Mac's top bun cracked in half, killing both the burger and any hope I had that this would become an Internet phenomenon. So I wrote my blog to document what happened in the hope that the blog post itself would perhaps get noticed.

About a week later I got a message from a journalist at Metro. She wanted to interview me for a story about Pet Big Mac. Getting a story in Metro seemed like a reasonable payoff for what was essentially a failed attempt at going viral. So I answered the questions and assumed the role of a slightly mad gentleman who had grown fond of his Big Mac. Within a few hours, the story was up, and it was brilliant. It made me chuckle no end and I was satisfied that this hadn't been a waste of time.

met

But wait, there's more

I thought that would be the end of it. But no, things were just getting started. To my surprise, there was also a story on Delish, which it turns out had actually come the day before the Metro piece. The Delish bit had also been cross-posted to the Esquire website (and later to Yahoo!) and all the stories had been shared with the various social media accounts of the aforementioned outlets. esq This was beginning to get a bit nuts.

Next up, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Unilad had done a post on Pet Big Mac and put it up on their social channels. These were some pretty big media hits, the kind that I generally crave in my day job as press officer at a big charity. I was starting to feel a strange sense of pride. I say strange because none of this chatter was really benefitting me in any way. I'll get onto that shortly. 

Going global

What came next was basically an barrage of humourous articles about one man and his Big Mac in outlets like HexJam and as far afield as AsiaDenmark (and Denmark again), Australia (and here), Thailand (plus here), Indonesia (and again), Hong Kong and China, where the story was also being widely shared on the messaging app We Chat. 12636907_10153830648914299_1856913347_o 12656434_10153830648849299_1147074307_o

It was all rather bonkers. But the highlight of the week-long saga was undoubtedly when Vice picked up the story and ran it in their food section, Munchies. This meant the story got repeatedly shared to the massive audiences on Vice's social channels.

The world now knew the story of my Big Mac and I. The final big media hit came from Food & Wine, who posted a story in their FWx section and then shared it on all their social accounts.

All in all, we're talking about social channels with millions of followers sharing about the life and death of a Big Mac. What a time to be alive.

Haters gonna hate

I read some of the comments people were posting about Pet Big Mac and I. It was a real mixed bag. Some people found the whole thing amusing, while others thought outlets like Vice and Metro were sinking to new depths by covering such a stupid story. A few people suggested I must be some kind of freak or weirdo.

mental

None of this really bothered me because the whole thing was like some kind of out-of-body experience. It was happening to me, but not actually to me. It wasn't like people were coming at me directly through my Twitter account or even the Pet Big Mac accounts. Everyone was just talking about me and I was on the periphery, looking in from time to time to see what people were saying.

Fame without the fame

I'd achieved a level of famedom, my 15 minutes perhaps, but I wasn't getting anything out of it. Other than the email interview I did with the Metro journalist, it wasn't like any of these media outlets were reaching out and talking directly to me. I wasn't gaining any more Twitter followers and the Pet Big Mac Twitter and Facebook accounts were barely more popular than they had been at the start, by which I mean they now had around 20 followers each.

vice

There was no real payoff for me here. There was a glimmer of hope when Pick Me Up, a gossip magazine, got in touch and wanted to pay my wife and I to do a story about us, but they were keen to do it from the point of view of my long-suffering partner. I imagine it would have been something along the lines of: "My life as the wife of a man who kept a Big Mac as a pet for two months." The price of public humiliation? £100. Meh. It just wasn't worth it, particularly as it sounded like it could take months for the story to actually make it to print.

I even contacted the McDonalds press office in the UK to see if they would give me a lifetime supply of Big Macs to replace the one that I'd kept for two months. No reply.

Lessons learnt

So that was it. The story came and went and it was quite a ride, but right now I'm pretty much back where I started. I think I could have perhaps capitalised on all the attention by engaging in some of the discussions or maybe even attempting to resurrect the project, but I felt like this would have been kind of a cheap way of trying to milk something that was probably never destined to produce much milk in the first place.

Weird character-based Internet projects can clearly captivate the hearts and minds of the general population. That's definitely my main takeaway from all this. Other than that, I'd say it's all pretty random.

The struggle continues.

Facebook makes me feel unhappy and it's about time I did something about it

This will be a fairly lengthy post so I’ve broken it into sections:

The trouble with Facebook

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Bryon Lippincott/FlickR

I never considered myself an unhappy person. I get a bit lonely sometimes and now and then I lay awake at night wondering why I never had an idea that made me rich or why I don’t play sports as much as I used to, but that seems pretty normal. What’s neither normal nor healthy is looking into the lives of friends, half-friends, acquaintances and randoms through a lens that reveals only the parts they want the rest of the world to see. That’s not even real. It’s snapshots of people’s days that, for the most part, best demonstrate the aspects of their lives that they want the world to see.

It’s a really nice meal that I didn’t eat, a movie I didn’t see, a party I wasn’t invited to, a job I don’t have, a gathering I wasn’t at, a gig I’m not gonna go to or a house that’s more expensive than mine. Then there’s the constant pressure to stay in touch with people, to interact on this platform that deceptively and paradoxically makes you privy to what’s happening in people’s lives without actual participation.

All of this is there, glaring at me on a daily basis each and every time I log into Facebook. It makes me unhappy and I’ve narrowed this negativity down to three situations that I feel are significant and unhealthy enough to warrant some kind of closer examination.

Negative situations on Facebook

Missing out

This is a common one. I log on and see pictures of things happening that I’m not part of. Why am I not included in these events? I usually ask myself. The answers vary, but when I see people having fun without me, I naturally feel left out

It’s all right if it’s someone I don’t really know, but when it’s friends, or friends of friends, it makes me wonder why I wasn’t part of the proceedings. It can be anything from a wedding to a dinner to a party to a drink in the pub to a gig, and the feeling is usually at it’s strongest if it’s something that, in my mind, I think I could or should have been invited to.

To see something like this and not be there starts a trail of thought that usually ends with me analysing my friendships and agonising over the potential differences between my perceptions of the friendships I have with other people and the realities of those relationships, never sure which of the two is real. This hints at some of the deception I mentioned in the first section, where seeing so much of a person’s life on social media can make you feel like you are “in touch” when really you’re not. It becomes an endless, whirling cacophony of self-doubt and leads neatly to my next negative situation.

Growing apart

I often think about friends I had when I was younger – friends from primary school, secondary school, uni, Thailand, Timor-Leste, uni again. I still think about a lot of them, even ones I haven’t seen for a very long time, and wonder if they remember me and, more specifically, if they sometimes think about me in the same way.

It bothers me because I can remember very specific things about those friendships. In my head, I still think I’m friends with these people, even though they may not have given me a second thought for years. It’s this confusion over whether a friendship even exists that I think relates to how I perceive a lot of the friends I have today, and where else do you get a daily reminder of who your friends are than on Facebook?

So it’s on Facebook that I have a thorough and well-organised list of people I’m supposed to be friends with. I can see them all, as well as various details about their lives. Some I haven’t spoken to for a while or have maybe lost touch with a little bit. When I see those people and the snapshots of their lives, I start to ask myself the same questions I do about friends from my past: Are these friendships real?

It didn’t help that I lived overseas for most of the last 11 years. When I moved back to the UK a little less than two years back, I was a distressed to see how much things had changed within my circles of friends. A lot happened while I was away that I wasn’t a part of and so there were shifts; some people within the circles became closer, others lost contact altogether. Some who I may have been friends with in certain places suddenly weren’t friends at all while even those friendships that I had previously considered as strong were in doubt. These feelings are accentuated by spending time on Facebook and they lead to a pit of self-doubt.

Comparable lives

I’ve always thought that it’s natural to compare my life to the lives of my friends. There are a many areas of overlap and quantifiable points of comparison. We all basically live the same lives as our friends. There are obviously glaring differences, but the fundamentals are all there.

There are a few common “big” questions: How does my job compare? Are they having kids yet? What’s their house like? Do they have an awesome car? Where do they go on holiday? What was their wedding like?

I don’t think any of this really bothered me until Facebook came along and allowed me to see even the most mundane, minute elements of other people’s lives. So now I’m not just occasionally comparing the big things, but constantly looking at the little ones, like: What does this person do on a Friday night? What’s that person having for dinner? Where’s that couple going on Sunday afternoon? It’s an overload of information and points of comparison.

This isn’t to say that I’m unhappy with my life, but the kind of content people share on Facebook is often intended to show off only the best aspects of their lives, a kind of self-branding, if you like. I know this because I’ve done it myself. I’ve posted content on Facebook because I wanted to say, essentially, “I did this and you didn’t.”

Facebook check-ins are probably the best example of this. Really, who wants to see that you’re at the pub or attending a concert or, worse still, at an airport? Taking it a step farther, who would be interested in seeing photos of a social gathering they weren’t part of? Some people would, yes, but the vast majority don’t need that little bit of information. This is getting close to the “missing out” section above now.

Taking action

So that’s a lot of interlinked negativity and none of it is doing my state of mind any good. My single New Year’s resolution this year, pretty much the only one I’ve ever made, was to do something about it.

There are two obvious solutions:

  1. Delete my Facebook; or
  2. Just stop using it.

I thought about deleting Facebook altogether, but I didn’t feel like that would get to the root of the problem. I wanted to fundamentally change my habits. To stop using Facebook is the preferable of the two options. However, Facebook does have its benefits. When I want to communicate with friends, Facebook is where I normally go first. That side of it is something I don’t want to lose.

What I do want to lose is most of everything else. So I decided to stop posting on Facebook. I’ve only gone a couple of weeks, but it’s one less thing to worry about. I also decided to stop reading other people’s posts. I just needed to stop following updates from every single one of my friends. Now all I see on my timeline are posts from news sites and music artists. That’s just fine.

All I do on Facebook now is send and reply to messages, as well as see instances where I’ve been mentioned in someone else’s post. Eliminating the timeline browsing has meant that I go on Facebook far less frequently. There’s not really any need to, especially now that I have the Facebook Messenger app on my desktop, as well as my phone. I’ve also removed the Facebook app from the homescreens on my phone.

It’s difficult to assess the impact of any of this, but I do feel like it’s making a difference by not having to repeatedly go through the negative situations and emotions explored above. It’s certainly a lot less pressure. In short: I think I’m happier without so much Facebook in my life. Though of course this is all a work-in-progress.

I do, however, still have a need to share, so let’s talk about that for a moment.

The need to share

I’m not immune to the desire to share. I like to have outlets where I can post my thoughts and opinions. I just want to be able to do it without the craving for instant gratification. This blog is a good place for it, but I have also enjoyed using lesser-known social sites, like This and Ello. There’s something to be said for a social network where you don’t know anybody.

Twitter is still my primary social network of choice. If I have a burning desire to comment on something, I’ll usually do it on Twitter. Whether anyone responds or not is far less pressing than on Facebook. Twitter is also the main place where I share links and get my news from. It’s become more like a trumped up RSS reader than anything else.

The best thing about Twitter, though, is that there is an emotional disconnect. I don’t know most of the people I’m following there. We’re not connected because of a friendship, but because we’re likely to share content that is mutually interesting. That’s generally as far as it goes.

I will say, however, that when I lived in Bangkok most recently, a lot more of my social life came to revolve around Twitter and tweetups and social gatherings that would inevitably be broadcast and talked about. That actually became quite stressful for me and evoked many of the negative emotions that I’ve discussed in this post.

It’s important for me now to balance that need to share with the need to disconnect.

Final thoughts

This is something that I’ve never really spoken about with anyone else so it’s hard to gauge if other people have been through similar situations. From what I’ve read, a lot of people will be able to relate to at least a small part of what I’ve talked about here. I’m really interested to find out to what extent it’s had an impact on their emotional wellbeing. Is there a type of personality that this has a greater effect on?

I don’t think that social media is inherently bad. What I do believe, however, is that it can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing when you become too emotionally involved in the networks you choose to post on.

The comments are open on this thread and you can always catch me on Twitter. Would be great to hear from other people in some shape or form.

I kept a Big Mac for 2 months until I realised I'm a complete moron

Last bonfire night I went out into London for the Million Mask March. On my way home I picked up a Big Mac meal, unaware that my wife had already cooked dinner. So I drank the coke, threw the fries in the bin and left the Big Mac in my bag. The next day at work, I opened my bag to find the said Big Mac. I thought about saving it for lunch but noticed that the bun was on its way to being solid as a rock. Eating it was out of the question.

Then a sudden wave of inspiration hit me: I could turn this into one of my Internet projects. I thought I had hit the big time with this idea. I'd read stories about people that had found old Big Macs years later and they still looked the same, but this was going to take that one step farther. I was going to document the Big Mac with daily photos. I also conceived that I would give the Big Mac a personality and take pics of it in different places, doing unusual things, like one of those gnomes that gets kidnapped and then the thief sends back photos of it all over the world. This was my gnome. I'd finally done something that would go viral.

And so Pet Big Mac was born. IMAG4482

I set up a Twitter and a Facebook for him (I started referring to the Big Mac as a "him") and began taking daily shots. I wanted to take one photo a day and then at the end one year I would be able to make a video similar to people who take pics of their faces every day for a year. Oh, the genius of it!

Life of Pet Big Mac

I didn't want to take the Big Mac home and have to explain to my wife why I was keeping and photographing a decaying burger, so I just kept it on my desk at work. I let a few colleagues in on the idea and a couple of them got quite into it and started helping me come up with ideas for what kind of photo to take next. I think mostly they just humoured me.IMAG5278

Then Christmas came and I decided I'd take Pet Big Mac home for the holidays. This meant bringing him with me to my mum's house in Bath, where my wife and I were going to spend Christmas Day. During the car ride from London to Bath, I confessed to my wife that I'd been keeping a Big Mac for nearly two months on my desk at work as part of a social media project. She was mildly interested, but being married to me means that she has become used to dumb ideas like this. 

At home, my mum was vaguely bemused, but I kept at it, taking a photo (sometimes more) every day depicting a different scenario, all the while posting on Pet Big Mac's Twitter and Facebook page. I decided to hold off on the promotion of the pages because I was concerned about how people would react to it. Part of me thought that if I kept posting, someone would be bound to see it at some stage and then it would go viral.

I avoided following anyone except McDonalds and waited patiently for it to take off. I did a couple of retweets to my personal Twitter page to see if I could catch anyone's eye, but nothing was happening. I wasn't worried though because I was playing the long game. After a year, I would be able to come out with my video and be all like "Hey Internets I kept a Big Mac as a pet for a year and took a photo of it every day. BAM!"
IMAG4580

Tragedy

But it didn't happen. On the way back to London, the Pet Big Mac's bun top broke in half. It was as if its stale head had been cracked open in a terrible accident. I was somewhat miffed, but this was what I needed to bring me back to reality. I realised then what I should have at the start: this was a stupid idea. Possibly the dumbest idea for a project I've ever had.

There it ended. The Twitter account had 1 follower (me) and the Facebook page had 1 like (actually not me).

The reason I'm sharing this now is because this idiotic project is really the story of my social media life. I have come up with numerous ideas for funny or interesting Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, all in the hope that one of them would go viral and rocket me to Internet stardom so I could make a living off doing dumb shit online. But really, none of these projects has worked.
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A Twitter account pretending to be a small chow chow dog? No, that didn't take off. North Korean Olympics? I got bored of that pretty quick. EDM Bros? No that was never gonna be popular. There have bee a lot more. Many of them I can't even remember. Most of the time, I just lose interest. 

Pet Big Mac taught me that I have a lot of bad ideas that are made even worse by my execution. The Internet has given every moron with a computer the false hope that he or she can be a viral sensation. It has not worked for me yet, but I will continue to try until I'm finally satisfied with something.

Current projects I have are an ironic foodie account, accounts posting old pages from the Argos and Kays catalogues, a gaming channel that requires far too much time to keep active, and my dubstep website. I am perhaps just one killer idea away from losing my mind completely. Cheers to that!

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11 social media predictions for 2016

Social media came a long way in 2015. As I'm a bonafide massive expert on all things digital, I thought I'd share with you my predictions for what's going to be big in 2016. If you don't agree with me then you're probably wrong. Soz.

Blurry concert photos will become the norm

Townsquare Media

Townsquare Media

For far too long we've lived in an age where people make a genuine effort to take nice, clear photos at gigs they attend. Those days are almost over and we can look forward to a 2016 full of wonky, blurry shots taken from behind a pillar somewhere near the back of the venue. NME and other music publications will have no choice but to adapt to this trend to ensure that nobody has a bloody clue what they're looking at anymore. There will be an app, available on Android and iOS, that will purposely, beautifully ruin every single photo you take at a concert, just in case you take one that looks a bit in-focus.

Auto-DMs will be big

What we're talking about here are those direct messages that automatically end up in your inbox after you follow someone on Twitter. Only a select few trailblazers have been utilising this feature so far, and through third-party services at that, but 2016 will see the introduction of compulsory impersonal auto-DMs not just on Twitter, but any social network that doesn't want to get left behind. DMs handwritten by real people will be phased out by summer to clear up space for people to invite their Internet friends to follow them on Instagram.

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Travel bloggers will revolutionise brunch

Brunch is the next big thing in the travel blogger universe. Actual travel like going places and seeing things and stuff will take a back seat as WordPress warriors will focus their efforts on finding new ways of broadcasting their free brunches to their ever-growing audiences. Live streaming, virtual reality and interactive content will all play a part in the brunch revolution of 2016. You'll get to live every sponsored moment as if you were there.

Inspirational quotes will bring about world peace

Reused and repurposed inspirational quotes did a lot of good in 2015, but just you wait for next year. The misattributed and stolen wise words of some of the world's best thinkers will be copied and pasted en masse directly into conflict zones to stop people being mean to each other.

Facebook will become all about jogs

You may have noticed the recent trend of people sharing status updates about their jogs on Facebook and other social networks. Jogging posts are in for a boom in 2016. You'll be able to not only post about actual jogs you've done, but jogs you're planning to do, thinking about doing and possibly not going to do at all. I predict that some social networks will reject all other content in favour of jogging posts. We really want to know about your jogs.

Klout scores will be printed on passports

Got a high Klout score but worried that not everybody knows about it? The old method of just posting about it over and over again has been OK up to now, but it wasn't really in your face enough. Next year, Klout scores will be printed on all new passports and you'll be required to disclose them in job interviews and at Tesco self-service checkout counters.

Lonely

Lonely

The rise of the anti-social network

Tired of browsing Facebook only to see how much more amazing everybody's lives are compared to yours? Well, that will soon be a thing of the past as a number of new social networks will be launched that will actively prohibit all forms of interaction and "friending". Instead, you'll get a white screen with your name and photo on it and a list of achievements including gym certificates from primary school.

Instagram will focus wholly on bots and butts

The era of the "people users" will come to an end in 2016. Instagram will eventually remove the accounts of all actual humans in favour of bots and fake accounts that post pictures of women's butts. Real people will still be allowed to leave comments asking for Kik handles.

Food pictures will actually be edible

You probably already know that all your contacts were really interested in everything you ate in 2015. Whether you were at a restaurant or having something at home, there was a great deal of interest in your food updates. This will be taken to the next level in 2016 as now your friends and family will be able to actually eat your social media posts thanks to a new technology being developed by Google.

You will never be able to check-out

Been to the pub? Cinema? A concert? A restaurant? An airport? A nightclub? A cafe? A hotel? Well you can bet your ass we were all really happy to see your checkins in 2015. What we can look forward to in 2016 is new tech on our phones that will automatically and mandatorily check you in no matter where you go, even if you're just on the street or in the toilet or sat on a bench, meaning that the only way you can be "checked out" is if you're dead.

Everyone will be a digital nomad

This almost happened in 2015. Millions of people gave up their jobs to travel the world and make a living teaching other people how to quit their jobs and travel the world. Next year, pretty much every blog post will be about how to write blog posts teaching people how to make money writing blog posts.

Can't fucking wait.

What London's Million Mask March was really like

Million Mask March London

The Million Mask March took place on November 5 with groups gathering around the world in a hat tip to Anonymous and an F you to the authorities. I’d never been to one of these Anonymous gatherings so I went into the city to see what it was all about. There were ominous warnings of violence in the day or so leading up to the march.

This year we have strong reason to believe that peaceful protest is the last thing on the minds of many of the people who will come along.
– CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT PIPPA MILLS

It seemed like shit might have been about to get real, if the press and police were to be believed. On the night itself, the headlines came thick and fast: Clashes! Violence! Arrests! Battle! Chaos! It sounded like London had descended into a warzone. But what I saw over the course of maybe three or so hours was more like one of those awkward freshers week parties where everyone goes out on the town together and gets blind drunk before shenanigans ensue.

First things first, there were a handful of unnecessary incidents. Some muppets set fire to a cop car. Others threw bollards and fireworks at police and their horses. A woman was then punched for protecting those said horses. That all happened and it was deplorable. It dominated the coverage by the mainstream media while the journos out on the night with their hard hats got the meaty photos they could use to frame the whole event.

Million Mask March London

But many reporters appeared to miss that for the most part, the Million Mask March was just 3,000 people wandering aimlessly, occasionally shouting. Essentially, this was the whole point of the march: that there was, in fact, no point. It was disorganised and peculiar, so much so that on the night we often found ourselves just kind of standing around.

No path to follow

There was no clear route that the group had in mind, so everyone just walked, following whichever person at the time had decided to take on the task of navigating. Every now and then, the police would swoop in en masse to block off a road off and make sure we didn’t go up it. This led to a bit of shouting and name-calling. “Jobsworth” was a popular insult.

There were a lot of police and from what I saw they looked to be largely in control. They were generally pretty chilled about the whole thing. I didn’t see them starting any trouble or acting aggressively. It was much like previous demos I’ve been to in the UK where the protestors are the ones trying to provoke the cops. But even then, most quickly realised that these attempts were futile, so the group would start walking again.

As the night drew on, there were concerns that we were all going to be kettled as we were herded through the city, but I didn’t find myself or the people around me trapped at any time. At one point we happened upon the Mockingjay premiere, which led to a little confusion. There was an elaborate fireworks show outside the Odeon that caught the wandering attention of more than a few protestors, who stopped to take the atmosphere in. This frustrated a few of the marchers, who tried to rally everyone together again.

Pick n mix protestors

Million Mask March LondonThe protestors themselves were a mixed bunch. A lot of them were wearing the masks, but many weren’t, or else they had them on backwards so you could still see their faces. I was maskless and nobody gave me any grief. Some people put a lot of effort into their costumes, modelling themselves on V. One guy took it a step further and came as Gandalf.

There were lots of students, some skinheads, a number of punks and the occasional wrongun, can of lager in hand, who you could tell was itching for something to happen. A few times I heard someone say we should try and start some fights. Indeed, some of the more hardcore marchers were getting annoyed at how monotonous the proceedings were becoming. “Let’s do something,” I heard a few shout.

Million Mask March LondonThis “something” manifested in the form of people throwing bollards, jumping up and down on lorry trailers, and pushing over temporary fencing and orange barriers. Some stood in front of cars with their hand-written placards and only let them pass when they got a thumbs-up of approval. The placards were one of the highlights of the evening, each emblazoned with a message for the powers that be, but it all seemed a bit half-arsed. Even the chants struggled to really catch on. There was almost an attempt to storm a police line at a location where we clearly outnumbered the cops, but in the end nobody could be bothered.

This lack of drive might have come from the hodgepodge of reasons people had for being angry: pedophiles, Palestine, the monarchy, the rich, the government, bankers, housing prices, inequality, student fees, TTIP, surveillance. There was no shortage of causes. The overall message? The system needs overthrowing.

Between the occasional sounds of whistles and a Lord of the Rings-esque war horn, I heard conversations about how there were “too many yuppies” taking part, while others questioned the motives of their fellow marchers, suggesting they were just there to get a few good snaps for Facebook.

A couple of lads tried to disrupt traffic by blocking the roads with barriers and bollards. This pissed off most of the other protestors, who would then dutifully clear the roads to allow cars to pass once more.

That kind of summed it up for me: there were a handful of people trying to start something, but most people just weren’t interested in trouble. The bulk of us were happy to limit our anarchism to breathing in the fumes of the oft-photographed smoke flares and walking in the road rather than on the pavement. I actually heard someone shout, “Don’t walk on the pavement. There’s a perfectly good street. We’re here to cause disruption.” And so it went on.

Million Mask March London

Winding down

A few times the mass splintered into confused sub-groups and it seemed like a lot of people had gone home as it got towards 9 pm. By the time we got back to Trafalgar Square, the group I was in had really thinned out, so I decided to leave as well.

My initial feeling after the march was one of confusion, but then the more I thought about, I came to realise that this confusion and apparent lack of direction is really the essence of the Anonymous movement. There are vague notions of justice and equality holding together a loose web of activism and uprising, but there is no single issue or driving force, so anything the group sets its collective eyes on is fair game. In that sense, I think it's pretty cool, but when it takes a singular, physical form in something like a march, it can be difficult to know know what to make of it. This is perhaps why the media so struggles to define the movement.

Who needs definition these days anyway?