YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS
Bernie Comaskey – firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been said about this column that we ‘lag behind the times’. Perhaps there is truth in that assertion on occasion, but we also believe that we are often so far out in front that we have to wait for the rest of the world to catch up!
Social media is a case in point. I don’t do it: I don’t want to see or hear about your cutest dog, or a picture of what you just cooked for dinner. Social media trivia is a total waste of time and space and a sad reflection of what some people feel the need to talk about. Worse still, social media is now listed as an addiction, especially among the young.
If you Google my name, it will tell you that you can connect with me on Facebook. (I’m not speaking to you, Lads…) Not true, my friends; I was on Facebook some years back while trying to promote something we were doing in Spain. It appears that, like the Mafia, you cannot get out of Facebook. Last message I left read as follows (after 31 people wanted to be my friend): ‘If you want to be my friend, tell me to my face and we’ll have a cup of coffee.’
I got no takers – so obviously my new friends didn’t want me that badly!
There was a great article by Colin Murphy in last week’s Sunday Independent. “Social media is rotting our brains,” was the first line that Colin wrote. “It grinds down our ability to concentrate, chops away at our productivity and makes our teenagers more anxious, less empathetic and more tribal.”
The ‘grooming’ of children and vulnerable adults via social media is something we hear of every day. There are predators out there who have the art of manipulation well practised and the range of scams facilitated on smart-phones is truly mindboggling. Cyberbullying is yet another scourge of the younger set; and indeed, the not so young are also among its victims.
Invasion of privacy is a subtle side effect of being a part of some of these sites. Undesirables that you wouldn’t normally allow inside your road gate are granted a position whereby they know everything about you.
Social media addiction is having a fundamental impact on how our children and grandchildren are learning how they interact with the world.
Twitter has this week been bought out by Elon Musk for a sum in the region of €40 billion. (No, that is not a misprint, Girls). I know nothing about Mr Musk other than the fact that he is ‘snug’ – as they say around here! I would hazard a guess that the buyer bought Twitter in the expectation of making a few bob. Musk claims that he purchased the forum to safeguard free speech. In this modern age, where truth doesn’t count, my bet is that a lot of Twitter ‘free speech’ will be lies. I think he said that Donald Trump is welcome back on board the Twitter vehicle. I rest my case!
Now, in the interests of balance, we have to admit that the inception of social media has brought huge benefits to our world. Without those technologies, we would be a much poorer place. Facebook can be a positive tool in promoting business or community activities.
There was a great ‘go’ on WhatsApp funnies over the last two years when we didn’t have much else to amuse us. With many of my friends, I enjoyed that distraction and it triggered countless belly-laughs. This fad has now run its course, and without a word being spoken about it, it’s as if all my ‘WhatsApp Circle’ just decided to stop forwarding on the same day.
The stuff had started to weaken and some of those staged TikTok videos are pure pathetic. Mind you, my group still exchange the odd very clever, funny, interesting or informative item.
‘Moderation’ is that old trusty fallback word that springs to mind when we speak of social media. Same as with gambling, drinking, over-eating and other addictions, it is fine until you allow it take over your life. It needs to be reined in and controlled.
The New York Times has recently warned its journalists against the lazy use of Twitter instead of doing the leg work and invoking good old fashioned journalistic practices. The paper’s editor held up YCBS as a great example of how to do the thing right without having anything to do with social media. (Well… he actually didn’t get to say that bit – but I know it was on the tip of his tongue!).
Any man who is honest, fair, tolerant, charitable of others, and well behaved is a success no matter what his station in life might be.