It was with great regret and a heavy heart that I learned of the death of Baroness Thatcher this week. This was because I learned about this momentous occasion via the medium of Facebook. Yes, I first heard about the death of the last great truly despised figure of the Western word because someone I met during an evening class ten years ago made an ‘amusing’ comment on Facebook. Busy writing Lesson Plans and Schemes of Work I decided to take a break from my computer screen and skip over to the office kitchen to make a coffee. Whilst waiting for the kettle to boil I slipped my phone out of my pocket and browsed Facebook to find that a virtual friend had decided to share his wit with the rest of the world and in doing so ruin a sense of occasion that I was entitled to. The death of Margaret Thatcher is something that one should learn about on Radio 4 or in the pages of the Guardian. It is an occasion that deserves the commentary of a true professional skilled in the art of news delivery. Needless to say the individual who ruined my occasion is now dead to me. I immediately de-friended him and he now floats around in the deep, rich black void that is not being able to count me as one of his Facebook friends.
To prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again I urge all readers to think before you post. Due to the immediacy of the internet when you make a comment about something as huge as the death of Margaret Thatcher on Facebook or Twitter you could be relaying the news to someone for the very first time. That individual will never get that moment back. For example in twenty five years whenever I am asked where I was when I heard that Margaret Thatcher had died I will have to grimace and say that I was reading some comments on Facebook whilst waiting for a kettle to boil. Other people may have been on the toilet. If you are moved to comment on something like the death of Maggie then at least have the integrity to write it as thoroughly and eloquently as my fellow poster Paul Featherstone. I only wish that it was by reading a piece of writing such as this that I had learned of the death of Thatcher.
The trouble is that through Twitter and Facebook the idiot is almost validated. When their flippant and juvenile comments appear in printed text on our screens they become that much more concrete. This is augmented by the fact that we live in a culture that takes its Facebook and Twitter very seriously and with the invention of the Blackberry and tablet age Facebook and Twitter are very much part of us. Our hand sets are an extension of ourselves constantly in the palms of our hands. There are people for whom the world is the grey coloured border around the screen of their smart phones. There was once a simple and glorious time when there was a clear definition between our virtual activity and our cyber activity. However, due to our excessive use of the internet, especially Facebook and Twitter, the lines have been blurred.
Twitter is especially vulgar as it has created a world in which people comment on issues as varied as the crisis in Syria to the happenings on Geordie Shore all with a limit of 140 characters. To Tweet about an issue is to be value it and I would go as far as to say that Twitter is nothing more than a self-indulgent arena for the moron. That is, of course, not to say that all who Tweet are morons.
I am currently enjoying the new David Bowie album ‘The Next Day’. It is a truly unique record simply because its creator was not Tweeting about every bar of tambourine that was recorded. It was released without any prior announcement and this makes the music sound that little bit sweeter. Yes, Twitter has taken the mystery and magic out of popular culture (especially music). As an eighteen year old I can remember being obsessed with Radiohead. I would scour the pages of ‘Q’ magazine for any hints as to whether or not the band were in the studio, writing new material or planning further live dates. I stalked the band (not in the literal sense) like a hunter and it was absolutely exhilarating whenever a new album was released, a tour was announced or even when the tiniest nugget of information was discovered. But as I write this I know that I could log on to Twitter now and find out what Thom Yorke has eaten for breakfast. Twitter has taken the fun out of music for me through sheer over exposure.
So I shall not be Tweeting whenever I post something new on here. For those of you who are interested you will just have to exert the energy and find my posts on the site organically.
Andi Ware is 32 years-old and has a small dog called Oliver. He is a paid-up member of the Labour Party and used to play bass in semi-legendary Hull band Sal Paradise. In his spare time he makes his own wine and watches rugby league. He once claimed his favourite album was Electric Warrior by T.Rex, which was a complete lie. He holds a degree in Philosophy, but you’d already guessed that. You can find him at http://www.twitter.com/XavierDwyer1