In which I wonder if social media is really for me…


Parts of this great big interweb intrigue and absorb me. I love the randomness of Twitter. Among the rash of posts about the Norwegian massacres and Amy Winehouse’s death, everyday life went on as normal. Metrobus announced that a new route would be in effect from August on Route 93 in Surrey, Leyton Orient Football Club (according to a retweet) has completed its summer signings. And a BBC travel reporter described being stuck in a “mahoosive” traffic jam on the north circular.

Young people, we’re told, stay in and do social networking because they like it. Old people stay in because they like watching the telly – they’ve heard of social networking but don’t like it. I’m in an awkward kind of middle ground; I’m doing social networking in a sort of half-arsed way, because everyone says I should, but I’d secretly rather go out and talk to human beings.

The pubs are consequently only half full, their populations consisting of middle-aged people talking to other middle-aged people and tutting about the few under-25s who’ve not understood the “social” media rules and hence sneak into the pub but spend the evening ignoring their companions and poring over their mobile phones.

Apparently, fooling around on the computer is the only way to get work these days. In the old days, getting work was all about personal recommendation. Imagine the scene. Two journo types in a pub, 10 years ago.

Bloke A: Crap, I need to get someone to do that 2,000-word feature by Thursday. Know anyone?

Bloke B: Mm, I used to work with this bird called Sue Fenton. NCTJ-qualified, knows what a deadline is, good at research, can understand a brief – even her spelling’s not bad if you can catch her sober. And she’s desperate at the moment, I gather. Here’s her number. Your round, anyway.

Bloke A: OK, I’ll give her a ring. Same again?

Picture the scene today. Two journo types sitting in their respective living rooms.

Bloke A: Crap, I need someone to do that 2,000 word feature by Thursday. Know anyone? Preferably someone you’ve never met and never worked with, of course? If you haven’t got the first idea who they are, all the better.

Bloke B: Mm, well I’ve got 214 friends on Facebook and about double that on LinkedIn. Why don’t you trawl through the lot of them and see if any of them have failed a Meeja Studies degree? Cheapest way of doing it. Take you all morning, of course.

Bloke A: Oh, bollocks.

Maybe I’m just bitter because I’m not down the pub on a Saturday night disapproving of the young people.

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