Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The temptations of Facebook

I am back after a couple of weeks in France -  and happily managed to dodge the royal birth and the deferential cheer-leading that goes with it. I have no more to say about the birth of the new prince - and you'll see why in a minute:

These days, thanks to smart phones, going on holiday is not the isolating experience that it used to be. Rather than a hermit-like couple of weeks away from the news, thanks to Facebook and blogs, you remain connected to the world albeit through a rather peculiar lens.

So my awareness of the royal birth derived from what I read through the posts of my Facebook friends. Unsurprisingly, most of these are of a generally left/liberal/republican persuasion and a significant number of them have a reasonable sense of humour. But far too many of them felt obliged to post 'me-too' posts either taking the piss out of the new prince or making all-too obvious points about the birth. And if I had been at home, I would probably have done exactly the same thing.

But with the benefit of a bit of a distance I realised that we really don't need all this. All those posts may make us chuckle for a few seconds -  and that's fine -  but  more worryingly they give us a sense of smug self-righteousness that in so doing we have somehow struck a blow for something or other.  I  recall that back in the 1980s Billy Bragg used to sing something about 'wearing badges is not enough in times like these'. Maybe Facebook posts are the new badges.

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