So were we deep in conversation? Course we weren’t – we all had our phones in our hands. My wife was playing an online word game with some random stranger. I was answering a journalist’s questions about In Shadows Waiting, via email. My daughter was on Facebook. Our friend was….. well, you get the picture. Unsocial media reigning supreme!
MSN was probably the first step in how modern communication has evolved – who remembers that, eh? My kids were always on it, using the old fashioned desktop computer. Nowadays there’s a plethora of communication channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. But it’s not just those channels that have affected how we get in touch with each other. It’s the medium too – smart phones and tablets.
That combination of channel and medium has changed the civilised world (and don’t say into an uncivilised world, although you’d have no argument from me on that score).
I readily accept that many aspects of social media are used for good. It can be a tremendous boon for many, keeping families in touch from one side of the globe to the other. It can even be a lifeline, re-igniting hope and confidence for those suffering from mental illnesses, for example.
But as there is light, so is there dark. I have seen how social media is used by online trolls for bullying and harassment. I think you already know my views on that…my outrage at those keyboard cowards led to me setting up an anti-online bullying campaign, and writing my acclaimed short story The Twitter Bully, which has just been re-released in a new anthology, containing the works of almost 50 authors.
Oh…and by the way, the subject for this column was suggested by two people I have never met in the real world. Thank you to my Twitter friends @_SeaofCowards and @Waitingirl13 for tweeting the idea to me.