For the fourth year running, Sarah Millican will be on Twitter asking those in need of company on Christmas Day to #joinin. She tells Standard Issue how it started and what it means.
I think I started #joinin three years ago. So this Christmas Day will be my fourth. It started because I’m a big softie and can’t bear the thought of people being alone on Christmas Day. And I don’t mean those who choose to be alone. Good for them. They like being alone, they want it, they have a smashing time. This is not for them. This is for those who don’t chose to be alone, but who are, for some reason, on their tod/bob/lonesome. Be it because they have no family, are estranged from their family, it’s not their turn to have the kids, even just that their partner is at work, whatever. Alone and would rather not be. This is who #joinin is for.
Though social media has its faults (time suckage, troll playground, never knowing if the pic you’re clicking on is of a cock or not), it’s bloody good at lessening loneliness. It’s helped me when I’m on the road or on a train or up late because I can’t sleep and I know it does the same for others. So it made sense to use Twitter for this. By using the hashtag #joinin, you can join a community made up of those alone, those not alone but lonely (I know that’s a thing because it was in a Bon Jovi song once, and I used to work in an office), those who wish they were alone (who often tweet the horrors of being with other people to make the lonely ones feel better, adorable) and me. Just loads of nice people chatting with me and then each other. As soon as I see conversations start without including me (I’m still watching on the hashtag like a SantaGod), my heart fills with warmth (possibly an overflow of the gravy) and I know it’s working.
I start when I get up (usually dictated by what time my mam starts asking “Has he been?”) by explaining what #joinin is and encouraging people to let us know if they’re lonely and to use the hashtag. Then it sort of takes on a life of its own. Last year I tweeted and retweeted so much that Twitter blocked me – for spamming I assume – and I had to start a new account. Thankfully, the powers that be at Twitter now know what it is and are very supportive. Hooray.
I post what I’m watching on the telly so that those alone can watch the same and we can have The Queen or Eastenders based banter. #joinin goes down well. Those who are alone and prefer it that way get a bit annoyed at it, but I can handle that. And it’s not for them. And they can easily avoid it. For those who were dreading not having anyone to chat to, it absolutely solves that problem. Plus if you’re chatting online rather than in person, you don’t have to hoover or wear a bra and you can eat that whole profiterole pyramid you bought or just always have cheese in your hand.
So come and find me. Join Twitter for the day if you have to: I’ll be @sarahmillican75 where the door is always open.
Sarah Millican is a comedian, writer, reformed workaholic, feminist, cat and dog mam, wife and lover of food.