Just a quick note at the outset – in blogging terms what follows is possibly a bit suicidal. It follows a sort of social-media induced information overload when I was away on holiday. This left me determined to throw my computer out of the window and move to the country to live in a little cottage with a thatched roof, a picket fence and absolutely no WiFi. But I love the blog really, and thank you all (very much) for reading it.
I shall now continue with my rant…
I hate computers and most modern technology really. Perhaps this is an odd declaration from someone who has a blog. I’m pretty sure that even my parents think I’m very old-fashioned. Even though they are both old enough to qualify for free public transport, my dad has Bill Gates practically on speed dial and my mum has just bought a new i-pad, with a lime green cover.
I on the other hand am so curmudgeonly about technology that I have only recently upgraded my laptop from one that was nine years old (which I am told is quite old for a computer). Until last year (when my parents kindly gave me a hand-me-down) I listened to CDs on a very battered disk man and played music from my i-pod amplified by a tea-cup lying on its side (that really does work).
I’m just not interested in spending my cash on something that loses value within 30 seconds. And whilst blackberries and remote work access are meant to make work easier, they never work properly and leave me wanting to tear my hair out or throw my laptop away. But more than that, I think that so much time and energy is taken up by ‘convenience’ technology, especially in the field of communications. It’s just all a bit much. I currently have a blackberry (work issue, bad times), a mobile, three email accounts (one work, one personal, one for the blog), a twitter account, this blog and a Facebook page. Do I really have that much to say?
I know several people who use their blackberries to check their emails in bed. Now, I know that it can be helpful to check work stuff outside the office if you have a job that demands it. But emails in the bedroom is a step beyond surely? What is next – conference call from the bath? Staff update on the loo? When will we ever switch off? Aside from the fact that all this wireless stuff flying about the place is surely very bad for your brain, the bedroom is a place of calm, or sex, or sleep. Not work.
Foolishly, I have linked Twitter and Facebook to my blackberry, which means I can never escape the endless tweeting, tagging and status updating that goes on day and night. I am suffering from information overload. There’s so much information now, it almost becomes meaningless. I am about to cancel my Times Online subscription after only a few weeks as it’s already unwieldy. Too many daily updates and the Style section delivered midweek, which is confusing. We all know that’s really only for Sunday brunch. Almost constant updates from the BBC and other UK press on Twitter. It’s hard to know where to start and often tempting to ignore it altogether.
Does the world need hundreds of thousands of ‘have a go’ journalists tweeting incessantly? Probably not. I don’t care what Eddie Izzard thinks about AV or Yemeni politics (unless he tells it in joke form), yet there he is, tweeting away like a one-man breaking-news service. A few weeks ago the world was full of people commenting on the minutiae of the royal wedding. We all (me included, I am ashamed to say) persisted on tweeting every minute or so for several hours, even though most of us were singularly unqualified to cast opinion on the event. Over eight thousand ‘proper’ journalists reported on the event from London. Surely six would have done the job: one for commentary on the royal family, one on fashion, one on music, one on the religious bit, then Huw Edwards and Terry Wogan to do the sarcastic filler bits.
Just because we have a ‘voice’, doesn’t mean we should use it. We all know: ‘if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all‘. Perhaps we should try: ‘if you don’t have anything helpful, well-researched, insightful, or genuinely funny to say, just don’t‘. (I will prepare myself for the backlash here…)
Of course I have undermined this whole principle by blogging about it to an invisible audience. I shall update Facebook and Twitter on the not-quite irony of that very fact. And then I will see what is happening in Yemen according to Eddie.
If you can’t beat them, join them.