A FEW weeks ago, an unusually ill-fated Tinder date went viral.

Within hours of encountering each other online, Darlington man Phil Stephenson and South Shields woman Nicole Graham jetted off to Turkey together.

The pair landed in the middle of a military coup but were more disturbed by each other than the thought of being caught up in political unrest.

Within hours of The Northern Echo’s story being published, it had spread across the world, with hundreds of thousands of people reading about the first date from hell.

Phil and Nicole, modern couple that they were, took their newfound and fleeting fame in their stride, using their time in the limelight to complain about each other’s shortcomings.

He’d stolen her toothpaste and she’d allegedly pushed two single beds together in an attempt to woo the reluctant luxury bed salesman, in case you were wondering.

When unusual stories like this come along, you often suspect they’ll be well read, whether it’s by those who have an ingrained love of the bizarre or those who simply enjoy schadenfreude.

You can never, however, predict what will go viral and I’d bet I’m not the only one to find myself worrying that one day, it’ll be me.

Being accident prone and clumsy, it sometimes feels like it's a matter of time before I’ll inadvertently do something so ridiculous it’ll be committed to the internet hive mind forever.

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to forget some of the sillier things that fate – and my own idiocy – has thrown my way.

There was that time in 2008 when an amorous dolphin in Cuba made it horribly clear he had an interest in me that went beyond decent.

I was once half-way through an interview when a giant vase of water above my head crashed down upon me, soaking me entirely and leaving my photographer forever remorseful that he’d already put his kit away.

Then there was that time last week when I doused an old school friend with copious amounts of wine after my attempt to say "cheers" went tragically wrong – he had to go home and change ten minutes after we met for the first time in 20 years.

In between are a series of unfortunate events that have inspired my brother to call me the cleverest idiot he knows.

I have no doubt a blooper reel of my life would be briefly entertaining for those people who aren’t me.

We are all, I fear, just one ridiculous – or horrifying – incident away from being captured on a smartphone and immortalised online thereafter.

As light-hearted as I’d like to be about my future as a pithy meme, there is an obvious dark side to living in a society where you always feel watched.

The majority of my youthful discretions took place in the pre-internet era, when you could be as stupid as you liked without running the risk of your future boss watching a video of your escapades.

These days, we observe each other constantly as we move through a digital world, living in a self-policing, constantly monitored society that’d give Orwell nightmares.

The ubiquity of technology is not without its benefits, working superbly in many instances to hold to account those responsible for anything from street crime to police brutality.

But I do worry that any perceived right we may once have had to be forgotten is deteriorating as rapidly as our past is fossilising behind us.