Social Meeedja

Snapchat and Whatsapp logosWhen my work colleagues (yes I have another job other than writing, which helps to pay the bills, whereas writing doesn’t, yet) were sorting a night out, they used WhatsApp to arrange it. Apparently texting or talking is soooo yesterday.

They also use Snapchat for communicating with each other and I was told that they no longer use Facebook as it’s considered “old fashioned”. Yikes! A technology that’s only been around 13 years is already considered to be out of date by people in their late teens/early twenties. And ironically Facebook own WhatsApp after paying $19.3 billion for it three years ago.

I’ve used WhatsApp for a number of years, along with the other usual social media tools, Twitter and Facebook and, not that long ago, I actually worked in the intranet and social media industry. but a few years in that business is equivalent to decades in others.

The speed at which online technology evolves is rapid and the lifetime of these products appears to be shortening as the technologies plateau at an earlier stage than previously.

What will be the next thing be that replaces WhatsApp and Snapchat allowing people to communicate with each other?

Grammar. Two.

IMG_6724In a previous post I talked about grammar and it’s [the article] pretty self explanatory. It doesn’t go into too much detail and that suits me just fine.

I get pretty confused about the correct use of English when writing. Similes, idioms, euphemisms, metaphors and the many differing variants and rules that English pedants insist we use are exhausting.

Does it really matter, as long as the reader understands what we’re talking about?

Well yes. And no. And I’ve probably broken many grammatical rules with just these three sentences.

Some years ago I went out with an English teacher and she vainly tried to teach me the correct use of similes, idioms, euphemisms, metaphors plus syntax and morphology (including inflections) and sometimes also phonology and semantics and the system of writting and with a couple of notable exceptions I simply couldn’t grasp the concepts.

Luckily there are now a plethora of on-line resources that can help. But to be honest not much of it makes sense to me and I don’t suppose it ever will.

I don’t have an “…ology” and have no desire to obtain one.

140 characters to derail your career

dartboardEric Bristow is the latest “celebrity” to come a cropper by publishing his ill thought out views (now deleted) onto a very public online platform (Twitter) and has received a lot of response to his views – some supportive, but the majority of people railing against him. Additionally his critics have pointed out other tweets he’s written (also now deleted) whereby he appeared to be spouting facist and racist rhetoric. And as a result he’s lost his job as a darts commentator at Sky Sports.

I’ve never met Bristow and therefore don’t know if he is racist, homophobic or just an illiterate idiot, but based on what I’ve read it strongly suggests he is all of these. He’s now apologised for his tweets (which doesn’t necessarily mean his views have changed) and is now eating humble pie whilst also continuing to use twitter the same way as the majority of people do, to illustrate how humdrum, mundane and “normal” (whatever that may mean for someone with an MBE) his life is.

And as we all know, today’s news is yesterdays chip paper – or whatever the modern equivalent is, though whenever he now gets mentioned in the press it will refer to this incident.

So is twitter responsible for idiots getting sacked? No of course not. Bristow is one of many people responsible for getting himself sacked by not understanding the power of social media and using the platform to ignorantly rant about things he has little knowledge of and using the technology like he’s chatting to his mates in the pub.

He boasts he doesn’t use any PR person to manage his twitter account and to write his posts for him. Until he’s been on a diversity course and educated himself, perhaps he should.

Not really a bullseye this time was it Eric?

It’s A Different Language. Innit?

sup-cat

I received a text the other day that began “sup”. No grammar. No context. And it took me a little while to work out what “sup” meant. It wasn’t until I’d read the entire text, which consisted of three sentences, to work out what “sup” meant.

It’s obvious now. Sup = what’s up? An abbreviation of “what’s up”. It’s like “Hello” but cooler – allegedly. The person who sent me the text is too young to remember the “Whassup” adverts.

Apparently this is how young people start conversations these days.

Bare sick. Sup.

 

Class system?

bbc-technology-logo1Seamless shopping and the future of work…

…said the BBC in an article about “Just Walk Out Shopping” and the potential impact on the future of the retail industry. Despite the obvious claims by Amazon that “Amazon Go” will revolutionise shopping this new idea will actually have little impact on shoppers’ habits. It won’t catch on and like Alpha One Airways and Apple’s Game Center app the concept will quickly die a quiet and unreported death.

But the one thing that struck me about the article was the use of language such as “low skilled work” when referring to check out assistants or Uber drivers. And therefore inferring that other jobs are superior in status, like perhaps a BBC technology news reporter (or “correspondent” as the corporation so grandly refers to their news’ employees) ?

Where is the line that determines “low skill” versus “high skill”? Is a doctor or surgeon the latter and a bin man or road sweeper the former? Where do bankers, estate agents, steel workers and police officers sit in this supposed hierarchy and who determines this?

So where does that put writers? If you work for BBC news reporting and writing articles for such a prestigious company does that make your job “highly skilled”? If you write other articles, like blog posts for example, what does that make me? After all I’m only writing words am I not? Other than having the ability to write there’s no other skill involved is there?

If I complete a novel or a screenplay does that then change the descriptor by which I become known?

I would suggest that all jobs consist of the use of some skills. The checkout assistant has a special set of skills that a BBC news reporter does not. I’ll leave you to work out what they are.

Swift.

DPD mapNothing to do with Taylor Swift. I mean speed; and not the drug.

Nowadays the speed with which items get delivered through the post has not necessarily improved per se, but keeping track of them sure has. Not that long ago an item was ordered and you were advised that it would be sent. Then nothing until the Royal Mail driver knocked on your door with your parcel.

Nowadays, should you wish, you can track the packages’ delivery route live via an app. All a bit stalkerish but my parcel should be with me between 13.22 and 14.22 – a very precise time.

Also the app allows me to change delivery dates or places in real time dependent on my whereabouts and of course this is a good thing for the customer. Great use of technology.

Publishing has also advanced significantly due to the use of technology. These days, if you have access to the internet and a device then you can get your words and thoughts out there instantaneously; like this blog post.

But as ever, getting people to read it is still a challenge although technology has obviously helped with that too. Well, it’s easier to get your content in front of more eye balls, but whether it gets read is another matter entirely.

 

Leonard Cohen.

Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.”

Grim-Reaper-Wall-Decal.jpgI’ve mentioned death before, but 2016 has been a year for a high number of deaths of well known people. I don’t know if 2016 has experienced more than average but it certainly seems like it. The Daily Mirror have had a stab at trying to explain why.

There’s no getting away from it we all have a 100% chance of dying. That’s one in one; not very good odds of avoiding it. It will happen to both you and me. Most of us will have no idea when this will happen, but happen it will.

Yesterday one of the world’s most revered poet/songwriter/musician’s died. Leonard Cohen has left us a legacy of work that will be always remembered, and more importantly discussed and quoted for time immorium. Like many other feted writers his work will always be there, available for us to pore over when searching for some inspiration or for words of comfort or maybe because we just wish to be in a melancholic mood.

It’s at times like this that some people will crawl out of the woodwork and hail the almighty Cohen and spout off about how they loved his work blah bla blah, when the reality is they have little idea of who he was or what he’s achieved. The online equivalent of hearse chasers.

I wasn’t particularly a fan. Sure I liked and knew of the obvious songs, “Hallelujah”, “Bird on a Wire”, “Suzanne” “So Long Marianne” et al, but anyone with an interest in music knows of those songs. I wanted to like his stuff, and I tried many times to over the years, but it never occurred to me to go to one of his gigs. Too morose for my liking. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t respect what he’d achieved.

As I write this I’m listening to Cohen’s album “Live in Dublin” which I’ve listened to on a cursory basis on a number of occasions in the past and it’s now dawning on me what I’ve missed out on: my bad.

But like all writers – good and bad – thankfully his prose (and music) will always be available.

And tomorrow I shall be wearing my Fedora as my small tribute to him. And on Sunday obviously I shall play a couple of his tunes on my radio show.