Evening Standard gossip columnist Sebastian Shakespeare likes to see himself as one of Fleet StreetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most well-connected hacks. But his entry on Facebook Ã¢â‚¬’ the internet site where members vie to show off the number of friends they have Ã¢â‚¬’ tells a sad story.
Click on to ShakespeareÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Facebook profile, and the words appear: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sebastian has one friendÃ¢â‚¬. There is a photo of his Ã¢â‚¬Å“friendÃ¢â‚¬, a brunette named as Esther Walker, who is seen peering coyly over the front page of the Evening Standard.
This Shakespeare story becomes even more tragi-comic if you know that the divine Walker is not really an old friend but, in fact, works for Shakespeare (as his party girl, covering events).
It will be even more frustrating for the “LondonersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Diary” editor to learn that on the same site visitors can find his rival on the Telegraph, Jonathan Isaby.
Isaby, well known in this parish after once writing a poem to Axegrinder, has 740 friends with accompanying pictures of his chums. They include a handful of MPs, a dog called Ben Wiseman, andÃ¢â‚¬¦ Esther Walker.
His fans have also created a Jonathan Isaby Appreciation Society (138 members) and Ã¢â‚¬’
more worryingly Ã¢â‚¬’ there are 24 members who get Ã¢â‚¬Å“pokedÃ¢â‚¬ by Isaby on a daily basis.
Poking, in this context, is a way of saying hello.
Shakespeare has yet to poke anyone.