Could you be a Barcelona footballer's personal Tweeter for £45,000?

Not too arduous a position…

Is this the best job in the world? MajorPlayers, a marketing recruitment consultancy, is advertising for a "Social Media Reporter", which will "give you the opportunity to report and manage the global social media activity for a huge football star… creating and sharing updates via social media channels including Facebook and Twitter" for a salary of £35,000 – £45,000.

Yes, you could have been paid £45,000 to be someone's Twitter butler.

The requirements are arduous — but not that arduous:

You need to keep the community in touch with the player during the playing season, as well as off season, with both on and off the pitch related content. You should have proven skills in social media and community management and development or solid skills in content and social journalism. Since you need to engage credibly with this sporting community, an excellent knowledge of football and a clear passion for the sport will be a distinct advantage. You must be bilingual with excellent writing and grammar in both Spanish and English and be happy to travel every week – usually to away games within Europe but sometimes further afield.

The job is based in Barcelona, which gives some hint as to who you might be ghosting. But could you really get in the head of Messi or Puyol?

Sadly, you'll never be able to find out: the position has already been filled. If someone's Twitter feed suddenly gets much more eloquent and bilingual shortly, we know who to blame…

The Barcelona squad. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Why have men become so lonely – and how does it affect their health?

New findings show the consequences of having a lonely heart.

Go out and get some friends. No, seriously. Hop on the Tube and act faux-interested in the crap-looking book your fellow commuter is reading, even if it's on their Kindle. Chances are it's better than the one in your bag, and they're probably a decent human being and just as lonely, like you and me.

A new slate of facts and figures are showing just how widespread loneliness, is while simultaneously being amazingly terrible for your health.

Research led by Steven Cole from the medicine department at University of California, Los Angeles is showing the cellular mechanisms behind the long known pitfalls of loneliness. Perceived social isolation (PSI) – the scientific term for loneliness –increases the exposure to chronic diseases and even mortality for individuals across the world.

The authors examined the effects of loneliness on leukocytes, also known as white blood cells, which are produced from stem cells in the bone marrow and are critical to the immune system and defending the body against bacteria and viruses. The results showed loneliness increases signalling in the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for controlling our fight-or-flight responses, and also affects the production of white blood cells.

Recently, the Movember Foundation, which focuses on men's health and wellbeing, carried out a survey with the help of YouGov investigating friendship and loneliness amongst men. The results are alarming, with only 11 per cent of single men across the spectrum in their early 20s to late-middle age saying they had a friend to turn to in a time of crisis, the number rising to 15 per cent for married men.

Friendship has shown not only to be important to a person's overall wellbeing, but can even add to a person's earnings. A previous study involving 10,000 US citizens over 35 years showed people earned 2 per cent more for each friend they had.

The Movember Foundation survey comes soon after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that men in Britain make up 58 per cent of the 2.47m people living alone between the ages of 45 and 64. The reasons behind this figure include marrying later in life and failed marriages, which usually result in children living with the mother. Women still make up the majority of the 7.7m single-occupant households across all ages in the country, at approximately 54 per cent.

Chronic loneliness seems to have slowly become a persistent problem for the country despite our hyper-connected world. It's an issue that has made even Jeremy Hunt say sensible things, such as "the busy, atomised lives we increasingly lead mean that too often we have become so distant from blood relatives" about this hidden crisis. He's previously called for British families to adopt the approach of many Asian families of having grandparents live under the same roof as children and grandchildren, and view care homes as a last, not first, option.

The number of single-person households has continued to increase over the years. While studies such as this add to the list of reasons why being alone is terrible for you, researchers are stumped as to how we can tackle this major social issue. Here's my suggestion: turn off whatever screen you're reading this from and strike up a conversation with someone who looks approachable. They could end up becoming your new best friend.