Day 4: Philosophical Sunday: Social Media and Me
I don't know about you but Sunday, when not impaled on a deadline or racing somewhere is a good thinking day. My usual fare would be a televisual enema of British politics. Andrew Marr at 9, the Big Questions at 10 and Andrew Neil at 11. In recent weeks, I've been taking deliberate evasive action from these things and have probably had better things to be doing in a new relationship and with a ticking clock on my planned emmigration.
However, today, found me holed up in my Parisian AIRBNB, entering my 20th day of 'That weird flu thing that's been going around', the phallic tip of the Eiffel tower barely visible through the rain spattered velux of my attic garret, so help me, today I was going to watch some television.
Turns out the world is in a bit of a state and various grey faced people look terribly worried about it. There was a very interesting discussion on social media and how it impacts our democracy. As someone who has been limited by technological ineptitude on the social media front, I hadn't really given this much thought, but my 100 day challenge means I am going to be blogging every day - that must technically make me one of 'those people' and that thought is slightly terrifying.
I've already learned a bunch even from this relatively brief period of writing about your own life.
1. It's very hard to separate the personal from the practical. Writing about daily life, you get sucked into it. I've always maintained a pretty strong wall about my relationships, family and friends and used Facebook (for example) as a means of professional promotion, place to watch cat videos and post political rants. The idea of becoming a mindless 'Hi guys...' poster, vomiting my malformed halfwit mundanities into the world alongside pictures of my breakfast was always something that curled my toes.
2. Actually, I quite enjoy posting pictures of my breakfast. My breakfast is awesome and you will look upon it and marvel.
Yeah. I said it.
3. The commentariat and the population at large are quite down on social media, few more so that traditional news organisations. (No prizes for guessing why) It's strange but since (interest declared) beginning to date a Facebook employee, I've definitely noticed more that everyone has an opinion on what's wrong with social media - whether it's turning the millennial generation (Which to my horror, I found out I may in fact belong to) into dribbling, incapable, entitled morons, perpetuating the distribution of fake news so yet more morons are influenced and do crazy things with their democratic rights, or simply just a good old fashioned corporation bashing, there's always a conversation to be had. Nowhere better illustrates this than when at dinner with friends, upon my girlfriend revealing her occupation, an idle chit chat becomes a two hour grilling and debate upon the ins and outs of whether a social media company is a force for good or not.
4. So it turns out, I'm also intuitively dating Facebook, and I now get a weird sense of protectiveness when people are mean to it for no reason. I've visited the HQ's in San Francisco and now in London and hung out with the guys and gals of Faceworld. Above all else, I took from it a sense of optimism... of the kind you get when a bunch of very smart, capable people have not only invented a global platform, but are also having to work out how to manage its 1.79 billion users whilst also giving some thought to what it's evolving purpose might be in the world. To me, the image that best captures that is the brilliant Aardman movie sequence from Wallace and Gromit's The Wrong Trousers (Above) where Gromit has to lay the track in front of the train while riding it.
Amazing how much life can feel like that!