“It’s really for the youngsters, isn’t it?” my friend declared, staunchly, “Not for people of our age.”
It seemed a bit rude to say “Speak for yourself” and I try never to be rude to friends, (or even enemies for that matter – I was very well brought up.) But I was a little nonplussed. After all my friend and I are surely not THAT old?
So what was she talking about? Marathon running? Bungee jumping? Deep sea diving, perhaps? No, she was talking about social media – email, text, Facebook, Twitter,
Skype etc etc. In short all the technology which keeps me in daily contact with my nearest and dearest. What on earth would a control freak like me do about keeping in touch without its help?
I like to know that the eldest grand-daughter got soaked when out on her Duke of Edinburgh expedition yesterday. I mean, I don’t like the fact that she got soaked, but I like knowing about it. I enjoy hearing that the
Little Welsh Boys visited a farm, that my godson and his family are having a fab time in the Canary islands, that my god-daughter still has 334 rows of a technically difficult pattern to go before she finishes off the cot blanket she is knitting for her friend’s
baby, and that the eldest grandson and his sister had a crazy few days when they took two of their friends to stay with their other grandmother.
to celebrate the fact that several of my friends completed the Brighton Marathon today. Well done to Wendy and James and Hannah and Grace: I salute you! I wouldn’t have known you were running, or that you’d finished if I hadn’t been
able to check on your status on-line. Note to the rest of you: At least I know that they are all safely past the finish line and none of them is still running around the city centre trying to work out which way to go...
If it wasn’t for Skype I wouldn’t be able to see how Baby Boy is growing up and changing day by day (though, obviously, he is still adorable. "Perfect baby," his mum would say.) Nor
would I have had the enjoyment this afternoon of being taught how to use emoticons by the Youngest Grand-daughter who will make an excellent teacher one day as she is endlessly encouraging. “Well done, Nanni!” she applauds when I locate a particularly
appropriate smiley face and send it her way. I could probably have worked out how to use emoticons on my own – but it is so much more fun being instructed by Eleanor, from a distance of over 70 miles.
It’s all down to Facebook that I was able to learn about an exciting new initiative established by my niece by marriage and one of her friends. It’s called The Reading Room Devon which sounds like exactly the kind
of retreat I would love – homely environment, like-minded fellow guests and books, books, books! A kind of Super Book Group but more, well, glorious. Look it up, why don’t you, at www.thereadingroomdevon.com
Now you might accuse me of using social media to spy upon my family and friends but remember I am only picking up on what they are prepared to share with me. Similarly
I am hoping that my own social media profile presents me as I am. Conscious of the media outcry over the young lass whose fifteen minutes of fame as Kent’s “Voice of Youth on Matters Criminal” was abruptly ended when the Mail of Sunday interrogated
her Twitter account, I took a look at my own Facebook profile. I wanted to see what The Mail on Sunday would find out about me, in the extremely unlikely event that it was ever interested enough to investigate my background. Apart from a couple of rather
unfortunate photographs posted by my son-in-law (nothing salacious, you understand, just me asleep on a sofa with my mouth open, that kind of thing ) there’s nothing I would call incriminating. Mildly embarrassing, perhaps, but I don't think you'll
find me on the front page next Sunday.
I refuse to think I am too old for such methods of communication. How else would I know what everyone is up to?
It’s my Social Register – I can tick off everyone I love, day by day, once I know they are all present and correct, however far away they may be.
I hope you are impressed, Eleanor?