It is safe to say that social media has changed my life. Without it this blog wouldn’t exist because it started from Twitter. Without social media we wouldn’t be packing for a week away next week on what is known as a “press trip”. Time away arranged via a travel company (in this case Canvas Holidays who are arranging accommodation for us in Italy which we are super excited about) in the hope we will share our experiences on social media and encourage our friends and family to book a similar holiday. Cars for a week, or a month, the FA Cup in our lounge. All thanks to social media. Trips to Africa, a kitchen full of appliances, feeling proud that I have been part of a team that has raised over £80,000 for Comic Relief. All down to social media.
This week though I have seen a side to social media that I really don’t like. Or more accurately I have seen instances of people using social media in a way that makes me think “is that really what social media is about?”.
Firstly a post that went viral on Facebook. The original poster is now being interviewed by radio stations all over the world and is enjoying his fifteen minutes of internet fame. This is what he posted this week:
Oh Stevie you fine upstanding citizen. Aren’t you a hero for saving poor Dave from his cheating wife.
No. No you aren’t.
You have just exposed a situation about which you know nothing. You have seen a snapshot of two people’s lives and run with it. Thinking you are helping “Dave” you have not spared one second to think about the bigger picture.
What about the fact that there could be children involved who have now seen their mother’s registration number all over the internet? “Well the mother should have thought about that” I hear you cry. No she shouldn’t. It is none of your business if they are having an affair. None of our business either. We are not here as the moral compass of anybody else’s life.
How about this scenario? Woman is in an abusive relationship. Dave is violent. Has told her for years she is worthless, ugly, nobody will ever love her. That she can’t leave him, who would have her? That maybe by having a full time job this has slowly given our lady some confidence again. Some financial independence. She has met this chap through work and he is helping her to break away from Dave. But this takes time to arrange.
Dave knows about all of it now though. What is Dave going to do tonight when he finds all of this out?
We don’t know. We will never know. We have no right to know. And I have to question why somebody feels the need to post that on Facebook. Is that what Facebook is for? Is that our job to do that when we sign up to Facebook?
It is a sad day if it is.
The second thing that has saddened me about social media is with Twitter, over an incident we sadly found ourselves caught up in last night. Mr B was going out after work to have some drinks with a colleague. Knowing he would be in London and having a drink he had got the train rather than drive. “Why don’t you get the train in at 6pm and we can go out for dinner”.
Well that sentence doesn’t need saying twice.
Which is how we found ourselves on the 22.12 from Waterloo to Basingstoke last night. And marooned at Weybridge when the train guard first of all announced “Sorry ladies and gents, there has been a fatality just ahead of us and all lines are now closed. There will be a delay, i dont know for how long but will keep you posted”. Everybody looked up from their crosswords / iphones / laptops, looked around, shrugged and waited for more news.
I texted Jonnie to say he should go to bed, we wouldn’t get into Fleet at 11.15 for him to pick us up, we would get a cab. Five minutes later the guard was back to advise the train was terminating there and we should all get off, get a taxi outside the station and claim the money back from the train operator.
We all duly got off the train, over 100 of us and then stood looking at two bemused taxis. Slowly people chatted to strangers “where are you going?” “Farnborough, well we are Fleet, let’s jump in the same one”. The word got out that taxis were needed and people just got on with it.
We called Jonnie who came and rescued us, and another chap who we had never met before but he who lives down the road.
I have no intention of trying to claim back Jonnie’s petrol. We got home. We are safe.
But as I had sat on the train I had taken to Twitter to see if I could get any more info on the incident to get a head start on getting off if we needed too. That search of #Weybridge was open on my Twitter app when I got up this morning and witnessed what I can only describe as a barrage of tweets to the train company. Many of whom were saying how diabolical the company were, what were they going to do to help, would we get compensation. It went on and on and on.
Now I accept nobody wants to be stranded in the middle of nowhere at 1am but do people really have to be so rude and demanding to the train company? Should they not be getting on to a taxi company and sorting themselves out?
How would they have dealt with it all before Twitter?
It truly saddens me that as somebody lost their life tonight, either by accident or as their final act, all others could do was demand compensation for a delay. Is that really who we are? Who we have become?
If it is then sod leaving the EU I actually want to get off the world completely