Overly Social Media

I’m a old curmudgeon. My mother says I was born an old man. I hate people until they prove worthy of my time, once you are in the circle you pretty much stay there until you choose to leave. In the circle you have benefits like unlimited lifts in the car at pretty much whatever time you like, beer money on the rare occasion I have it, IT/AV assistance, access to slow roasted Lamb and most importantly you can have my last Rolo.

Outside of my group you can pretty much, keel over and die without me batting an eyelid.

Selfish, yes.
Self preservation also.

Social media flies in the face of my survival strategy. Twitter and Facebook (moreso) forces you to form relationships with people you knew 20 years ago, or people you met once on a drunken night out in Rhyll. These people in the cold hard light of day mean less to you than your clan members in Clash of Clans or the members of your faction on Last of Us but because you have seen Barry’s daughter Stacy (whom you never met) take her first steps you feel somehow compelled to write some vapid response to Barry’s status. Which Barry will maybe read, smile and then ignore.

Using Facebook to plan a social gathering is like trying to find a TV presenter from the 1970’s that isn’t in prison. Possible, but hardly worth the effort. The people most likely to attend are your best friends, who whilst on your facebook, are also in your phonebook and textable. Those same people probably ignore Facebook event requests because they are as regular as someone on a fibre rich diet.

Those friends who see the event will also assume that because the Facebook event is visible to all of your 800 “friends” that at least 70 bods will show up. Now friending Dominos in is a great way to get 10% off Pizza but I doubt their CEO cares you are having a “Summer Shindig” so won’t turn up.

I left Facebook long ago, not missed it. All the people near and dear to me, write or talk to me. Not a wall or a time line. Facebook and any online platform, this included, is all too often used to foster a persona, a façade of the frothy. Don’t get me wrong, not everything has to have deep meaning, but it has to be real otherwise we may as well all pretend to be Astronauts.


Your Scheduled Programming Shall Never Resume

The 80’s a fine decade. Well maybe I don’t really remember it, being born in June of 1980 as I was I pretty much spent half of the decade crapping my pants. I’ll let you decide which half that was. In the UK we had no remote control on the TV and when you got up to change the channel (Yes kids) you had the choice of 3 channels plus the new upstart Channel 4 from 1982 onwards.

On demand TV was how loud you shouted “I want to watch…” and your Sky Plus was a scuzzy Scotch VHS tape that allowed you to watch one thing and record another. The Internet was around in university computer labs, although Netflix was a while off and even if it was around they would still be waiting around now to see the opening frame of Breaking Bad given the speeds of the connection.

Fast forward to now and we have a multitude of things to watch, on a plethora of channels, platforms and devices. The BBC at the time of writing has ballooned from 2 channels in 80’s to 9 channels. All of which air via digital TV in the UK. It was announced yesterday that one of those 9, BBC Three, is going to go “online only” prompting lots of twitter outcry and #SaveBBCThree hashtaggery.

Why save something that isn’t going?
BBC Three is the corporations “Youth” offering, serving a demographic which I am still just part of. The same demographic (to generalise) have access to a smartphone, are computer savvy, have access to high speed broadband, regularly watch on-demand content. So for BBC Three’s target audience very little will change, especially if they have a smart TV. If it was BBC 2 or BBC Four I would understand the concern. Given the older target audience, again to generalise.

I believe that in the next fifteen to twenty years the only programming that will be scheduled, as it has been since the very start of TV, will be live sporting events and news programmes. Everything else will be delivered as you want it when you want it, in a similar way to how Netflix works now. So BBC Three is ahead of the game on this one, and although it will still run to an online schedule, if viewing figures are good I see other channels following suit.

The revolution will not be televised. But it will be downloaded.

(BDYBIS) Unfollow

I’ve written before about personal accountability. The fact is its due another piece. Due to the rise of twitter and other social media “platforms” people now feel closer than ever before to celebrities, whether that be your bonafide celebs, people who actually have a talent Actors, Comedians, etc or people who are famous for being famous or infamous.

There is no entry exam for anyone on social media. Hell they even let hairy bastards write blogs. The good thing about being an anonymous blogger is that no-one can have any expectations. Even people who know me outside of this here window are not expecting word perfect stuff, to be entertained everyday or even to be informed. I have no persona or character to live up to.

For celebrities it’s a different matter. We all perceive celebrities in certain ways, actors are of course like their character on TV, footballers are like their on-field persona, comedians are funny and comedy writers are funny. 24/7 365 days a year. Why of course they are. None of these people are allowed to express any opinions other than those we would expect from the pigeonhole we put them in.

Ricky Gervais is a marmite type character. You either love or loathe. He has already left Twitter and returned to it once before, citing boredom. One of his followers today complained that he “only tweets about atheism.” Now the follower may have a point, not a very good one, but Ricky does tweet about religion a fair bit. However this is not a stand up tour, or a new series on BBC 2 it’s a twitter feed. 140 characters.

Graham Linehan writer of Father Ted and the IT Crowd two of the finest TV comedies of recent years is also on Twitter. Followers of him complain that he isn’t funny on his feed. They are right he’s not, instead he airs political views mostly and why shouldn’t he there is no law against it and no-one forcing followers to follow.

Frankie Boyle, controversial comic who recently lost the favour of Channel 4 by tweeting about the Paralympics, is probably a good example of why some comedians don’t try to be funny on twitter. More trouble than it’s worth, it’s lost him a lucrative TV contract, at least for the time being. Someone commented on a website, most probably digital spy that half the people who follow Frankie do so to complain.

I don’t find Frankie Boyle funny. So I never have followed. This is what I mean about personal responsibility. I don’t feel the need to tweet Frankie Boyle and tell him that I don’t find him funny. One, he doesn’t care and two, he’s made a pot of money because people think he is.

I used to follow David Haye, just before his first title was won. I thought it would be interesting to see what he put. However the brawl he had with Derek Chisora in Berlin put me right off, so I un-followed. I again did not tweet David Haye to say why. I’m not that important.

Online, offline, wherever you are, you have control over what you consume. Food, drink, media, bog rolls, tech products. Whatever you consume as a consumer, if something isn’t floating your boat, stop consuming it. If someone isn’t what you thought they’d be on Twitter just stop following. But know that they won’t notice you are missing.

Unfollow fellow Whitleyite Ricky.. me? nah

If I Didn’t Have This Blog I’d Cease to Exist (maybe)

Some selected quotes from the greatest thinkers the world has ever produced…

“I think therefore I am” – Descartes

“I have a dream.” – Martin Luther King Jr

“I like big butts and I cannot lie” – Sir Mixalot

“If I didn’t have an opinion, I’d cease to exist.” – Joey Barton

One of those doesn’t deserve to be in that list, anyone guess who?

Anyone who said Sir Mixalot needs to take a long hard look at themselves.

Joey Barton doesn’t of course deserve to be in a list of worlds great thinkers, he is after all just a footballer, captain of Queens Park Rangers. A man who’s footballing talent has been hampered by a violent streak and massive sense of self importance. It has been well documented as to why a man of great footballing skill actually finds himself at premiership new boys QPR but for those of you not in the know here’s a brief recap:-

  • During his time at Manchester City, he stubbed out a lit Cigar in a team mates eye at their 2004 Christmas Party.
  • In 2005 he was sent home from a pre-season tour of Thailand after assaulting a 15 year old Everton fan (who insulted him and kicked him in the shin)
  • In 2007 he assaulted his own team mate Ousmane Dabo at City’s training ground, leaving Dabo in hospital. Dabo pressed charges and Barton pleaded guilty, resulting in a 4 month suspended prison sentence.
  • So following a brief suspension from football, Barton signed for Newcastle Utd. During this time he was found guilty of assault (no not another team mate or pre-pubescent) punching one man over 20 times.. He served a prison term of 77 days.

I could go on, but it’s getting boring.

Joey Barton now is a star on Twitter (@Joey7Barton) this was how he brought his Newcastle Utd career to an end. He openly criticised Newcastle’s board and manager Alan Pardew, resulting in him being released on a free transfer. He continues to air opinions about his fellow professionals and the game in general. Prompting the FA this week to meet with him and discuss social media.

“I feel that the FA came to hush me down or make me not have an opinion. If they came to do that, they picked the wrong person, because there’s no way I can be like that.”

Ok, now let me draw attention to another opinionated man. Stephen Birrell. Birrell was jailed for eight months, for writing some sectarian comments on a Facebook page (from the BBC News website:-)

On 1 March, two days before the Old Firm match, Birrell posted: “Hope they (Celtic fans) all die. Simple. Catholic scumbags ha ha.”
On 4 March, the day after the game, he wrote: “Proud to hate Fenian tattie farmers. Simple ha ha.”
Four days later Birrell posted: “They’re all ploughing the fields the dirty scumbags.”
He also posted abuse directed at the Pope.

Birrell, has not killed anyone, nor assaulted anyone. He expressed an opinion, just as I am doing here and just as Barton needs to do to exist. What both men are too stupid to realise is, the internet is not the place for the throw away comment, the terrace jibes between fans that are over in a second.

Things I put here will stay here for 40 years!. If I insult my boss, there will be consequences. Barton doesn’t think there should be, but that doesn’t matter, in the real world, which twitter is a part, there are consequences so we all must self censor to a degree and learn when it is appropriate for the inappropriate.

This sums it up, when Reading manager Brian McDermott was asked “Are you going to introduce a Twitter policy at Reading?” He replied.
“No need, they are all grown men.”