THIS SOCIAL MEEJA LARK
Part I: When dinosaurs become birds (or, for those old enough to get the reference, Grannie is about to Take a Trip)
It’s not very nice to wake up one day and discover you are a dinosaur. As a coyly-named Silver Surfer I was rather proud of my attempts to get with the programme. I’ve been emailing for years, of course. I know how to attach documents, photos and even links to my emails and have them come out reasonably ungarbled.
When Kindles came along I learned to send my copy to my tablet, which gave me a fine sense of accomplishment. I hated it (I’m a pencil and paper girl, me) but I did it.
Then social media popped its head over the parapet. Blogs! Facebook! Twitter! Instagram! Pinterest! It’s enough to make the more mature among us run for the hills.
First there was Facebook. Suddenly it seemed that everybody, but everybody was posting on Facebook. OK, it was usually pictures of their cat, but the very fact of being on social media was a kind of seal of approval.
I took the plunge. I set up a page, and even ‘liked’ a few people I knew really well. The idea was that if I did something egregiously silly, at least only my close friends would know about it. Setting up a Facebook page is, I discovered, not all that scary. If you go on to the Facebook website they will practically talk you through it step by step. But there are two problems that I can see.
First of all, what on earth do you put on it? I have a problem imagining that I have anything to say that would actually interest anyone, given that most of my ‘friends’ are ‘fraintances’ at best (my word for friendly acquaintances). Why would they want to know I had toast and peanut butter for breakfast?
Secondly, a lot of my real friends and contemporaries are just as scared of the process as I was, with the result that they aren’t on Facebook in the first place. But needs must, so I persevered. I even set up a separate page for my newly-published book https://www.facebook.com/Paw-Prints-in-the-Butter-719210834795177/ Sometimes I actually posted something – and wonder of wonders I even got a few likes!
I was feeling quite proud of myself, until a younger colleague said to me in disbelief: ‘You mean you don’t Tweet?’ Well, no, I don’t tweet. I’m not Stephen Fry or JK Rowling or Tiger Woods, so why should anything I tweet be of any interest to anyone else? Please think of this as charming modesty, if you will, it’s actually acute terror. What if I attract a troll? Worse, what if someone sensible disses what I have said?
Still, I set up an account (if anyone has been following this blog they will know I am @perdisma). I even tweet from time to time. Usually the result is not what I intended. Followers appear from nowhere, mostly trying to sell me something. No trolls yet, but I am waiting. And have I got a clue what I am doing? You guessed it.
Which brings us neatly back to that trip Grannie is about to embark on. My good friend Rosemary Noble (author of the wonderfully atmospheric ‘Search for the Light’ and ‘The Digger’s Daughter’) is a twitterwhizz. She gets it. And, being a generous sort, has always shared an insight or two with the hardier members of our writing group. And next week she is giving us a seminar on the subject.
Will we emerge wiser? or more confused than ever? Watch this space…