Thursday, 6 September 2012

Social etiquette

If you ask me, the rise of modern technology has a lot to answer for. And yes, I know I sound like your nan when I say that. But I'm willing to bet that, if studies were done, they would find a direct correlation between the increase in use of social media and time-saving technology, and a general moral decline. Things that were once considered bad manners or socially unacceptable are now part and parcel of daily life. Take Facebook for example. As my FaceFriends will know, I'm partial to a post or two *winkyface*. But in what Universe was it ever considered ok to repeatedly air your filthy laundry in public? Before the likes of Facebook and Twitter, did people ever used to go out into the street and shout "GRRR! My husband is a massive knobjockey!"? And when their neighbours came out and said "Everything ok?", would they have remained silent for half an hour for dramatic effect and then said "Yeah, fine thanks"? No, of course not. But on Facebook - absolutely fine. And pre-social networking sites, how on earth did people manage to communicate to their friends and family what they were having for breakfast, lunch and dinner on any given day? Now, I'm sure this is of great interest to some, but I personally couldn't give a rats ass knowing whose gotten up at 6am to put fish fingers in the slow cooker.

Bluetooth headsets are a real case in point, and something which actually enrage me. In a car, I concede that yes, they are necessary if you need to be constantly available for work. But it is NOT, I repeat NOT necessary for a fat middle aged man whose wife has sent him to Asda for bread, to be wearing his around the store. I very nearly strode up to someone today and said "Nobody is ever going to ring you! You look like a Class A knobber - take it off!". When people shout into them, oblivious to the world around them, I find it almost as rude as people tiptapping on their phones when they should be doing something else. Like packing their bags at the supermarket checkout and hurrying the frick up.

And Twitter, which is probably all the proof anyone needs that the distance and anonymity social media provides has made the uglier side of peoples characters emerge. Who would dare to run up to Gary Barlow in his local Co-Op and tell him he's a terrible husband for performing at the Olympics ceremony when he should have been at home grieving for his stillborn daughter? Precisely. But you get all sorts of weirdo's who think they can hide behind a fake name and a computer screen, and abuse total strangers.

With the exception of Bluetooth headsets, I'm not totally against of all the things I've just spent ten minutes chuntering about. Facebook has led me to friends I never would have met but for a comment on a status of a mutual friend. And Twitter - well, how amazing is it to read what celebrities, film stars and musicians are doing right at this moment? It's like having famous friends. And of course, they both satisfy our overwhelming nosiness and allow us to live our lives vicariously. We've all got people on our friends lists who seem to have either the most fascinating, or the most miserable of lives; people who make us feel wholly inadequate, and those who make us feel bloody lucky!  So while you'll never see me talking loudly into a ridiculous headset any time soon, neither will you see me give up my celebrity stalking, my Twattering (or whatever they call it) or my FaceBooking. Oh, and if anyone's interested - we had carbonara pasta bake for tea *winky face*!