Today’s columnist, Bill Wright: Parade ground for big heads

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Modern technology has brought mankind many great benefits, but in my view these are cancelled out by one pernicious innovation. OK, we don’t have our teeth pulled out without anaesthetic nowadays, but we do have social media.

I got into Facebook because someone I was working for wanted me to. Eventually the job folded and he turned out to be a git, but I was stuck with Facebook.

My son attempted to expunge it from my computer but it was like painting over rust. When it popped up again, after a fortnight, I was able to ignore it for a while, but then in a moment of tipsy weakness one of the messages seduced me.

After that I looked at it occasionally but with distaste, the way a druggie might look at his dirty needle.

One trouble with social media is that people seem very touchy. I mean, you can be quite forthright with your mates when it’s face to face and it’s just part of the cheerful rough and tumble. But say one wrong word to someone on Facebook and your name is mud. This was my downfall really.

It all came to a head when a middle-aged American female of my acquaintance was rhapsodising about that Benedict Cucumber bloke. I stuck my oar in and pointed out that his occupation as a middle- ranking actor in no way entitled him to spout his left-wing opinions at everybody, and that when I heard that he’d filled his mansion with immigrants I’d be prepared to listen to his exhortations to the rest of us to take a few in.

For good measure I added that the Irish hypocrite Geldof was no better.

I admit that I was being slightly provocative, but I could not have been prepared for what followed.

The whole of menopausal mid-western womanhood descended upon me, and not in a good way.

In a hot flush of pure hatred I was subjected to a sort of Distributed Denial of The Right to Live Attack.

There were hundreds of messages, and they came from every state in the Union. I was called everything from a pig to a dog.

I diligently replied to as many as I could, pointing out the errors of logic.

I explained that just because I was English it did not automatically make me a ‘retard’. It all fell on deaf ears; in fact it only made matters worse because I was flooded with further correspondence. It seemed that every left-liberal matron in America was after my blood.

Finally I tried again to remove every trace of Facebook from my computer. Short of stuffing garlic in its CD slot and putting a silver stake through its case I really did try everything, but Facebook still rose from the dead after a fortnight. I ignored it as best as I could.

Social media seems to consist mainly of people showing their friends how glutinous, lucky, clever, or rich they or their children are, and the only permissible response from the friends is to coo, “Oh how wonderful/lovely/clever!”

Facebook isn’t a place for rational discussion; it’s just a parade ground for show-offs and big heads. Many messages have a picture of a plate of food, for goodness’ sake. What’s the point of that, other than to unsettle friends who are dieting? And honestly, who wants to see pictures of other people’s new babies? After all they’re not a pretty sight.

Who wants to read about other people’s fabulous holidays or weddings? Who wants to know about the wonderful achievements of other people’s offspring, including playing the back end of the second donkey in the Nativity or getting a third class degree in Global Warming?

No-one on social media values their correspondents for what they can bring to the table; they value them only as a receptacle for their own egotistical blathering. Has it every occurred to the people who post all this nonsense that in making themselves feel good they are making other people feel like inadequate failures? It’s not good when you’re having a so-so day and then you have to read about the fabulous time everyone else claims to be having.

So, I propose the antimatter Facebook, which would exist to let people know that their own lives aren’t actually all that dull and pointless compared to yours. It’s the place to post an account of how you failed the job interview due to your terrible attitude, how you put a scratch on the car due to sheer stupid carelessness, the gloomy musings of your doctor, a nice shot of the blackened lasagne where you confused fahrenheit for centigrade, what that very nasty teacher said about your blameless kid at open evening, how you dropped your phone down the lavatory, the truth about your perverted sexual desires, the weeds on your lawn, the dirt in your cupboards, the dead cat behind your settee, the revolting state of your toothbrush, and your overwhelming body odour. The possibilities are of course endless.

So the sooner some computing entrepreneur sets up the antimatter Facebook the better. I’ll join straight away. I have a need to tell the world about my absolutely rotten day.