Unsocial Media

I read recently that David Attenborough has abandoned his Instagram account, Apparently, it was too successful. At about the time he set up his record-breaking account I made what many people aid was the rash decision to leave it all behind. I never was one for Twitter or Instagram, but I was, at one point, quite active on Facebook.

For many people, Facebook and the like have been a life-line during the trials and tribulations of the past twelve months. In the beginning, I was one of those. But after a while, I found the immediacy and intrusion too much, so I decided to close my account. Some of my friends thought I was quite mad. They can’t imagine life without the constant ping of new notifications and hourly updates from “friends” one has never met, and never will. It was lovely to keep in touch with old friends and the girls, but I found that the very immediacy that most people seemed to crave was becoming tiresome and frustrating. I found myself checking my phone almost constantly, getting anxious when I hadn’t heard the tell-tale ping for a whole ten minutes.

One thing I found was the way one feels completed to react instantly to whatever has been said or shared. There seems to be little time for contemplation or thought. I was just as guilty as anyone else – firing off ill-considered responses to equally ill-considered comments or criticisms. When I took the time to look back at what I had said I was filled with a mix of shock and embarrassment. So, I decided that I had had enough and was going to make a clean break; go cold-turkey as they say.

And I have to say that now, three months later, I can say it was the second-best decision I made in the whole year. I get my news from the BBC or The Times without having to consider its validity or veracity and I keep up with family and friends by talking to them. Yes, I talk to real people. Strange I know, and rather old-fashioned, but I prefer it that way. I have absolutely no intention of going back.

One of the most high profile abusers of social media has to be the outgoing US President, Donald Trump. He is a vile human being who abused his power and used Twitter as a vehicle to incite mistrust and hatred. Like most sane people I watched the events last week in Washington with a mix of disbelief and anxiety. To see those scenes playing out in America was something I will never forget – as much as I would like to.

I have never been particularly political but over the past couple of years I have found myself taking more of an interest. I don’t pretend to understand all that goes on but one can’t help but form opinions and be concerned, particularly when those in charge are so obviously inept or corrupt. In Donald Trump’s case it seems to be both. But he is not the only world leader who seems dangerously out of touch with reality. Until he became Prime Minister I was quite fond of Boris Johnson. As Mayor of London he was amusing but largely harmless. The Brexit campaign and everything since have proven to me that he is anything but harmless. His blustering and blundering are no longer funny, they are something we really need to be concerned about.

So, for now at least, this blog is my voice on the internet. Rather than just talk about myself or post images of my meals I will post when I feel I have something to say.

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