. . . life before social media? I was surprised recently to get a “reminder” from Facebook that showed that I had been using it for ten years! If you had asked me I would probably have said ‘about five years’ although if I thought about it I would have realised it was longer, but ten years!!!
Facebook is a great leveler – it gives the same platform to the illiterate and ignorant as it does to the erudite and well informed (or as someone else posted today “I know Facebook has never caused the lame to walk but it sure has caused the dumb to speak“). Fortunately that does not apply to any of my Facebook friends (although some posts do leave me thinking ‘what is that about?’ too much has been left unsaid, or too much has been said). Facebook also is no respecter of geography – you can see a post and have no idea of where it came from; however there may be a clue in the language: colour is from UK, color is from USA; mum is from UK, mom is from USA and mam is from North East England; the one that bemuses me is when people talk about expiration dates rather than expiry dates – usually our American cousins simplify things rather than complicating them.
Does any of this matter – not as long as you appreciate the subtleties and limitations of what is being posted. What is more serious is when you are hacked or your identity misappropriated. I had a message on Facebook messenger today appearing to come from an old friend “Hi Tim how are you?” which was a bit of out of character – not the sort of message I would expect from her. I immediately blocked the messenger and deleted the message because I had been forewarned. Liz had had the same message and we were a bit suspicious knowing that this friend had recently been hacked. So rather than engaging in an exchange of messages on Messenger we Facetimed her. She confirmed that this indeed was not a message from her even though the image with the photo was a familiar one of her.
This is all a bit annoying but is there a more sinister side? Yes, if you are getting messages from someone you think is one of your friends your guard will be down. For example they might suggest that you put money into a particular investment which would turn out to be a scam. So my conclusion is if you are a bit suspicious about a message or post then check it out through a different channel – e-mail or phone call – or ignore it completely!
When I started this post (a while ago I must admit) I thought I would be musing on the impact of technology and social media but that five word message this morning changed that. The musings can come another day.
In other news;
In the 18 months since I restarted giving talks (having stopped them while I was having chemo) I have given a dozen talks to groups like U3A’s, WI’s, Rotary and, a new one for me, Probus; on Antarctic exploration and our encounters with cetaceans among other topics. It is something I enjoy and as long as the audiences keep enjoying it I am happy to continue doing so for a modest fee which goes to a charity that I support. Overall these talks have enabled me to raise over £1,000 for various charities.
Meanwhile Toni and Carol continue pounding the lanes in preparation for the Great South Run. A few weeks ago Toni and a few others did a WOLF run on the site where they did their first run a few years ago raising money for Rett UK. It is the last run on this site because it lies on the route for HS2. The lake which gave my son hypothermia the first time he tried to cross (and which he succeeded crossing on this his tenth WOLF Run) has to be drained – it appears that 250 mph trains and water don’t mix although I would have thought that at that speed it would just skim across the surface. I still don’t understand why we need HS2. I went into London for a meeting last week and discovered that the journey time from home to office had been reduced by a quarter of an hour – which meant that I had less time to read on the train; the annoying unusable bits of the journey – changing trains, waiting on platforms and the like were still there. Toni and Carol are three-quarters of their way to their £500 target with 35 days to go.