Social Me

What do you write about in your 100th blog entry? The easy and clichéd answer is – the previous 99 entries. Easy and clichéd – yes, that appeals to me, but I’m going to broaden out a little and talk about Social Media in general. There are countless blogs about Social Media – some of them are actually quite good – but this is going to be a personal account about my social media journey.

There is a common misconception that Facebook gave birth to “social media”. Not so. In the early days of the internet (before it was called the internet) I dabbled with bulletin boards. Going back to BTBL (Before Tim Berners Lee – the impending replacement for “BC”) I plied the CB radio airwaves under the “handle“ of Pheonix.

Before that grown men with a disproportionately large amount of facial hair sat hunched in garden sheds under the dim light of 60W bulbs talking purist techno-babble with similar souls around the globe via Amateur Radio. Perhaps there was a precursor still to this – maybe in pre-beard days people tapped out morse code to chat to strangers.

A radio ham - yesterday
A radio ham – yesterday

In fact I never owned an amateur radio but I did obtain a licence (G7CQV – missed out on the legacy G1’s by a month – analogous to an old school British black passport) but beyond the academic achievement of the exam success I soon realised that unlike CB where you had a “normal conversation” the strict code of conduct surrounding Ham Radio forbids any form of discussion not centred entirely around the equipment you are operating. Curiously I had assumed Ham was dead ATBL (work it out) until I visited Derby Silk Mill recently and some (bearded) Hams were chatting into the ether for reasons unknown. Needless to say they were describing their equipment to some hirsute listener.

It matters not, the point I have predictably over-laboured is that technology in all of these forms has provided a means to communicating with people you don’t know and may never meet.

So social media has been around in one form or another for a long time. It has just exploded recently because the internet has brought it to the masses and IT students-come billionaires have made the experience a damn sight slicker – ironic given the stereotypical demographic of IT people as being socially inept. I’m a former IT student and… well, anyway….

Returning to internet based Social Media ATBL Friends Reunited was an early personal experiences. Like everyone else I lost interest in the site because it failed to offer a sustained experience (everyone except ITV who bought this former racehorse for £175m after it had bolted and then later sold the decrepit old nag for £25m).

Tom - 1 million friends but no mates
Tom – 1 million friends but no mates

Next I think was MySpace which didn’t seem to make it easy to connect with like-minded people unless your name was Tom in which case you had millions of “friends”. Now MySpace provides a popular focal point for bands and musos which proves that on the internet you can survive and indeed thrive if you are prepared to evolve.

Next I was sucked into the vortex of that ubiquitous tornado known as Facebook, along with every living thing in its path. I still use the site to keep in contact with family and some friends but while it provides an effective means of sharing rich content with trusted friends it does not IMHO lend itself easily to the art of discovery. In other words FB is the site you are more likely to use to communicate with people in your existing social circles. It remains the pre-eminent social media site, yet more and more people are shifting their attention as I have to…

Twitter – a glorious melting pot of all and sundry. It is here that I have been lucky enough to come across some wonderfully talented and genuine people. This is where I have found people who share my interests – real ale, travel, local affairs, food, silliness not to mention people you can’t pigeonhole, such as my kindred spirit truth junkie – resident of a far off desert (you know who you are). In fact I follow a kaleidoscope of disparate individuals whom I find interesting or funny. There is no obligation to follow bores or self publicists (sorry Bill Shatner – you disappoint me). In summary…

Twitter is the global populous rebuilt from scratch in the form of our choosing

You can be the person you want to be, hang out with anybody you like and discard those you don’t. Twitter is a level playing field, ground zero – a new world order.

And then there’s my WordPress Blog. When I penned my first entry in June 2009 it was a leap into the unknown. I knew I enjoyed the process of writing but I had no idea where it would lead – if anywhere. My cousin pointed out that most blogs don’t get beyond 5 posts and it’s true that I have visited many blogs with 2 or 3 submissions.

By whatever means I find myself writing this blog – my 100th – and I can look back and pride myself on having not knowingly imparted any useful information during this time and only on occasion has my writing got “all serious” (sorry). I have never believed in letting facts pollute my flow. If you want facts then the world is already full of them.

Looking back at my blog some subject trends emerge…


38% – Travel


I’ve regaled and embellished my travel encounters with the spirit of Hunter S.Thompson at heart. In Cornwall I was Scott of Arabia. In the Lake District I discovered a night club in the hills. Dorset was Jurassic and New York City – well that’s a story of it’s own. Let’s not forget London such a favourite destination I compiled my own useless tourist guide.


31% – Football


God knows why I thought I could sustain a blog every day for last years month-long World Cup. It almost killed me but despite the workload and threats from a “celebrity” agent I pulled it off, with the help of an unwitting crack panel of pundits. Just. The Golden Mullet competition was a roaring success unless you judge it by the number of entrants.


9% – Kitchen Activity

It’s true, I love to create loads of extra faff by sharing recipes with you. One day I’m going to blog the washing up – see how you like it.


…and the rest

Amidst my subjective social commentaries you will find reportage from a variety of bespoke events that I feel the world needs to know about.

 

But where are the so called “big issues”? Politics, Religion, Society, Innuendo? Am I as fatuous and featherweight as my subject matter might suggest? The truth is that they are such weighty topics I fear I would struggle to do them justice in a concise form. They are too important to short change but who wants to come here to read a tome any more than they want to read a political manifesto, the 1st testament, the magna carta or Rogers Profanisaurus? That’s not to say I wont turn my hand to such things in due course but in the meantime somebody has to be the standard bearer for piggy whiffle and it might as well be me.

As this post comes to an end conventional editorial wisdom suggests that I neatly wrap things up with a summary and some conclusions. Rules – who needs them? I seem to have largely ignored them to date and I wish to remain an individual. So no tidy ending, no lessons learned and no moral to the story. You are just going to have to keep on re…

4 thoughts on “Social Me

  1. Ah, I can relate to your journey. Never did the CB stuff, but boy, oh boy, as a boy did I bore the other boys about my ham radio equipment, and much other stuff thereafter

    . . . CQ, CQ, CQ Cq 2metres, Good buddy c’mon back @ . . . @ . . @ . . .

  2. Happy days! Yes we take global communication with strangers for granted now but I remember the exotic thrill of exchanging words with truckers on the A6 nearby! CB had a range of perhaps 10 miles, though I did once have a chat with a guy in Pamplona Spain on a slightly illegal sideband rig when the “skip” was active.

    Of course the range on Ham was much greater but it always seemed to me that it was something of a closed shop when it came to talking about anything other than radio kit!

    Seeing the guys in the Silk Mill with their transmitter brought it all back and I’m glad the institution survives, although it must be akin to the survival of Vinyl in the digital age.

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