This column first appeared in the Manx Advertiser.
Sometimes – alright, most of the time – it is hard to reconcile the immense power of social media such as Facebook with the complete inanity of nearly all its content.
Now this will not come as a startling revelation to anyone, nor can the majority of us be excused. That includes those people who have posted/shared status updates and pictures bemoaning the fact that, with all the power of the internet, it is used mainly for playing second rate computer games and looking at pictures of cats.
It’s a little like the broadsheet newspapers sneering at tabloid coverage of celebrity tittle tattle, while repeating the same tittle tattle in order to mock it.
Or, for that matter, writing a cutting edge column expressing bewilderment at social media.
We’re certainly not on a par with David Cameron and his friends, who have made it quite clear – through one tweet – that the Tory Party is quite separate from the kind of people who drink beer and enjoy bingo.
But, I digress. The matter in hand is the inanity of Facebook and the rather sinister way in which it draws in users to tell the world they really have nothing better to do with their lives.
Aside from weather updates that can be found just as easily by looking out of the window, people trying to sell you things, and contact with family members you really can’t be bothered to actually speak to, the primary role of Facebook is to remove the need for mindless chatter in the home.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with mindless chatter online.
Just this week, I’ve been engaged in an interesting debate about whether you can have only doorstep bread, or if it also refers to toast.
Weighty stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Where Facebook outstrips the art of conversation, however, is no one can check precisely how off the cuff your witty remark is.
Whereas, in an actual conversation, if you don’t make an immediate response, the moment has gone, Facebook gives you much more time.
For all anyone knows, you have just seen the statement to which you are responding with all the panache of Oscar Wilde. You certainly haven’t spent the previous half hour looking up ancient quotations and then amending them to suit your cause, or double checking your stuff on Wikipedia.
But it’s still better than posting a picture of a cat.
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