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A bit addicted to social media? Me too

by | 26 Dec 2018

The flatlands of Lincolnshire lend themselves to wonderful skies – and @LincsSkies is there to record them.

I thought I was going to write about how horrible social media is, and how tired I am of the nasty, cruel and cynical comments I’m letting into my life.

Pretty obvious, though, isn’t it? Besides, why add to the negative energy by sharing mine? And since I do spend a fair amount of time on Twitter et alia, there must be something good to say. And there is, when I think about it properly. Good ideas and goodwill, and good people.

Here are some favourites:

I love “hyper-local” Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds like Ruddington Mums, and Mapperley Mums, which provide not only info on what’s on where I live, and where I grew up, but vital stuff like alerts about burglaries, and numbers for reliable washing machine menders. Lost tortoises and found wedding rings feature. All human life is there.

I love art but work full-time, so can’t float dreamily from gallery to gallery. No matter – smart institutions tweet out delightful artworks and informed insights. I learn, I immerse myself in high-quality images on my phone, I feel wonder. I love it.

Lincolnshire is flat, but never unexciting because flat means big skies – big in a way Kate Bush would approve of. Cue the @LincsSkies Twitter account, featuring mind-blowing sunsets and sunrises.

Bit of a cheat this one, but illustrative: via the estimable Eddie Mair’s Twitter account, I discovered the BBC Grenfell Tower Inquiry podcast. This is the kind of journalism that built the corporation’s reputation. It’s straight reporting from the inquiry, following every gruelling day. It’s thoughtful, informed, balanced, humane and unsentimental.

I unashamedly love Radio 4 soap The Archers, and one Facebook fan account in particular embraces utterly the cult-ish, cowpat-spattered fun of it all. Academic Archers also holds get-togethers discussing issues prompted by plot lines – such as the economic viability of cheese-making in the UK.

My dad Ron, who died in October 2018

Pick just one? Music History’s @RockWalkLondon account – daily posts covering musical anniversaries, with video. It has 65,400 followers, and follows no-one – cool, confident and refreshingly non-hype. It pays to choose carefully when it comes to social media.

And if any doubts about its value remained, they were allayed utterly for me when I think of the uncomplicated kindness of my friends, as expressed on Facebook in the past few months.

My lovely dad Ron died last autumn and I felt the need to post some details about his wonderful long life and what he meant to me.

Friends’ feedback touched me – even the emojis. This was a channel for love and sympathy, when it was needed. For me, that alone made social media worthwhile.