I am a self-confessed hypocritical Luddite. My favourite soap box rant is generally in the field of technology and yet I use my new version of windows 10 (it’s ok, not sure I quite understand all the excitement about it) to carry out my work and much of my life. I blame my phone for stealing any potential spare moment and yet I have arthritis in my thumb from an over-use of texting.
And then there’s Facebook. It seems to me that the concept is brilliant, less so the actualisation, perhaps. It allows people to stay in touch without needing to turn up or phone. Speaking to each other has its merits, of course, but unless you’re going to find a platform and give a speech, you are limited to how many willing participants you can communicate with at any given moment. Use Facebook and not only can you tell all your friends about your holiday, but all their friends as well, if you so choose.
The great thing about posting photos online is that you don’t see people yawn. I still cringe at the memory of my poor sister travelling over from America to stay with us. After settling her down on the sofa with a cup of Yorkshire Tea and a block of Dairy Milk, the fire crackling and the snow falling softly outside (ok, it was raining, it's a minor detail), we decided that now would be the perfect opportunity to show her the photographic evidence of our summer holiday, using our ‘new bit of kit’ (it was a few years ago): the television through which you could magnify your photos to the size of a small painting. Wonderful if you’re under ten, automatic soft focus would be kinder for anyone over 35. Said sister was stoic for the first 10% of the photos but after that the head began to nod and the eyes roll and as she really needed to stay awake until at least 8pm, all parties were unanimous in the decision to save the photos for 4 o’clock the next morning instead, when she had her jet lag induced insomnia.
So, I click on Facebook at the weekend, wander around, see who’s also frittering away their Saturday, and I see that ‘Tom’ - we’ll call him, ‘Tom’- is ‘at an event near you.’ That’s nice, I think, but what if Tom doesn’t want me to know that he’s at an event near me? Or, put it another way, if Tom wanted me to know he was at an event near me, I’m sure Tom could have told me. I was amused at the potential for misunderstanding that this technology could cause. What? You were two miles up the road and you never popped your head through the door even for a measly cup of Yorkshire Tea?
I mentioned my amusement to Tom and he said that it was funny because actually, he wasn’t at an event near me at said time. Definitely not. In fact, if I looked on Facebook I would see photographic evidence of him in an entirely different place.
Oh! If ever there was a story to be written.