Sunday, 31 May 2015

A rant for modern times

Social media. Two little words that have become a way of life for millions. The opium of the masses. A vehicle that allows people to inflict their ordinariness on the rest of the world. Or to impose their superiority upon it. Useful information becomes lost and then drowned in a sea of rubbish. A world dominated by mediocre observations at best, by vacuous waffling in the middle and by poisonous ranting at worst.

What has been unleashed is a stream of self-congratulatory drivel, fuelled by egos that demand to be seen, heard and responded to. We are no better than juggling clowns riding monocycles, hogging the spotlight and demanding applause, desperate for laughter and then hunting down comment in the aftermath. If our audience doesn't get it the first time then we will hit them over the head with it for a second, third and fourth time, beating them into submission until somebody - ANYBODY - responds. Doesn't matter that you've never met them and most probably never will, but their approval, their applause, their caring feeds your ego, drives you to seek out more, fuels your appetite to send more worthless information into cyberspace.

My picture is better than yours. My picture is not better than yours but I'm going to post it anyway. My picture is the fiftieth posted of this particular subject today, but I will still post it, because it's mine. I don't want to miss out on this collective overkill, so will add to it, millions of pixels bulldozed into a pile of redundant visual waste. Want another one from a different angle? HERE! Want a badly lit shot but it's all I've got? HERE!! One that's out of focus? HERE!!!

Stating the obvious. Forcing your prejudices onto others. Having private conversations in public. Poor grammar. Youth speak ffs even though you're over 40. Or 50. Pictures of your breakfast. Your lunch. Your dinner. Your tea. Your drink. Your eyebrow. Your ear. Your big toe. Because you are a star! You are famous!! What you think is important!!! You star in your own media show, played out on computer, tablet and phone to a worldwide audience of millions!!! Who doesn't want to know about your sore throat, your trip to the supermarket or your thoughts on 'John down the roads lawnmower'. Been somewhere interesting? Then don't actually look at it, but take a selfie so that we can all see that you- yes, YOU - have been there! Pull a face, pout, gurn, pose because your public love you! And in years to come, when you are asked what the Taj Mahal was like you won't remember because you didn't really take it in as you were sodding about with your selfie stick the whole time.

People with something to say used to write a letter or publish a book. Today people with nothing to say say it long and hard, not drawing breath between each touch of the keyboard or tap of the screen. Tourette's of the keyboard, all over the world, tap, tap, tapping away filling up cyberspace with worthless data. Just like this very post that you are reading now.

Me, me, me! The message that the supposedly educated of the early 21st century is sending out into the world. Indulgence grown fat by a society that has become obsessed by celebrity, short-termism and the sedation of true individualism. Families that sit in front of the TV, not actually watching it but all lost in their phones and tablets (and God forbid that they actually talk to each other!). Commuters on trains and buses barely aware of those around them because they are plugged into a life-support machine that feeds them media. Checking for emails, texts, status updates and posts when the boss isn't looking. Frightened of missing out on something that's going on somewhere else in someone else's life. And therefore missing out on the very here and now.

And now I must go. Check on my Facebook groups. See if my email inbox has filled up. Look at the Blogger stats.

You see, my public needs me...

13 comments:

  1. Blimey Steve, where'd that come from, I feel embarrassed at having written a longish blog about my feelings today now.
    But seriously, there is an enormous amount of crap circulating out there in a non-stop round-a-bout of one up manship. Thankfully I've never felt the need to go on Facebook or Twitter or indulge in macro lenses, etc.

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  2. Like anything, is good in smallish doses. Very useful for somethings. Bad when it gets in the way of actual, human, face-to-face intercourse.
    And you know that blogging is social media too, right? ;)

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  3. TWO posts in one day - eek! Someone somewhere has pissed you off good n proper. I best go check your Facebook status, see what it is. Maybe I ought to support you through this all with a 'Like'? Maybe even a thumbs up, if only I knew how to do one of those...

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  4. Er, I like it all. Social Media that is. I like my cyber contacts, some of whom I've never met. If someones blurred breakfast bores me I skip past it in a millisecond. I find out bits of info that I would never have found out in a million visits to the library or by having a face to face conversation with Brenda next door...I see it like an ever updating book or newspaper thats all. Its certainly as reliable as a newspaper!
    So keep up the blogging Steve, I'm out here loving it!

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  5. I think natural history and social media can work pretty well together. It acts as a great medium through which to share sightings, enlightening information and worthy campaigns in a non-egotistical way.

    For anything else though I'm in complete agreement with you. Some of the self-obsessed drivel my non-wildlife friends post is laughable. It's sad that we live in a time where it's deemed necessary to notify the world every time we order a Dominos pizza.

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  6. Well said! Along with this reply and the five others you can consider yourself validated.

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  7. Chaps, thanks for your comments. It cannot be denied that although I find a lot of social media infuriating, I do use (and abuse) it. This post contains a big dollop of self-deprecation and a massive tongue in cheek!

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  8. Why all this limelight-seeking and need for approval? Why the frantic collection of friends, followers and assorted acolytes?
    Clearly the poor fools have yet to discover Netflix box-sets, whereupon they will no longer have any time to waste on such vaccuous pursuits.

    Yes, the forty-ninth blurry, pixelated crapness of an excuse for a photo of the very same bird that absolutely every other so-called birder is slavishly rolling up to view, 'capture' an 'image' of, tweet about and turn into a stultifyingly dull blog post is indeed hard to swallow, but that is nothing beside the self-obsessed pomposity of those all-too-common buffoons who fill hard-working bloggers' comments boxes with hugely bloated, twaddle-packed sentences, stuffed to the gunwales with hyphens, inverted commas and way too many unneccessary adjectives.

    Unforgivable.

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    Replies
    1. And, Gavin, when can we 'expect' the - sorely and much-loved - NQS to return to our screens? #pointlessadditionalhashtag

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    2. Steve, I've thought about it often (mostly during or after wine, admittedly) but it would currently be almost bird free. 'Not Quite Inner London' maybe?

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    3. What about 'Not Quite Seaton' which would avoid many rebranding costs.

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  9. A top rant my man, and I think I know where you`re coming from. I agree with Bill that social media can be a great way of disseminating info (although not always), but that most of what goes out on Twitter is absolute drivel. Anyhow, hurry back to Dunge and find us another rare (arggh) will you, as the lack of is becoming tiresome, a nice Slender-billed on the Patch would go down well this time...

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    1. Back down very soon Paul. Slender-billed? I wish!

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