BLAISE TAPP: Is micro-cheating the first dumb trend of 2018?

Picture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock
HMS Invincible as she returns home to Portsmouth after the Falklands War

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There must 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 it wouldn't ever happen to me and 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.

Sure, there are things which I cannot fathom – nipple piercing, decaffeinated coffee, alcohol free lager, Love Island – but that doesn't make me out of touch. I think.

But my descent into a semi-permanent state of middle-aged bemusement began this weekend when I became briefly seduced by the facile national debate around micro-cheating.

Yes, you heard it right and, before you ask, it has nothing to do with illicit affairs involving really small people.

Apparently micro-cheating is a thing which was brought to the wider public’s attention following an interview with prominent Australian psychologist 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 that we could be engaging in micro-cheating 'if you secretly connect with another person on social media, if you share private jokes'.

According to her, you are also a micro-rotter – not a real term, but give it time – if you 'downplay the seriousness of your relationship to your partner or if you enter their name under a code in your phone'.

You would be forgiven for thinking that micro-cheating is a passing fad, rather like the fidget spinner, those odd pieces of cheap plastic which absolutely every child had to have for two months last year.

But judging by the thousands of words which have been written about it already, I have a hunch that it could be one of those irritating terms which could find its way into the modern lexicon.

I am almost certain that we will see it written in 88pt print on the front of those weekly glossy magazines which usually feature pictures of celebrities pretending to be surprised that a photographer has managed to get a picture of them in their £300 bikini.

I am also pretty sure it won’t be long before Little Mix or Taylor Swift sing about it.

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', after anything tweeted by President Trump, of course.

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, which last week boldly announced it would be taking steps to prioritise posts from family and friends over those from businesses.