Saturday, 11 July 2015

Facebook world…

What a wonderful world Facebook is. All my friends are there, and their pets, and the meals they eat. I go on holiday with them, share their happiness and sadness, see their new cars, attend their kid’s christenings, graduations, marriages. I listen to the music they like, support the charities they support, know their politics, hear about how the feel about immigration, austerity, the NHS, education. It really is a window into their lives and they have a window into mine.

Of course we only show and talk about the bits of our lives we want to show and talk about. There are whole chunks that are hidden and, dependant on how open you are, some things probably should be hidden away. I am pretty open of Facebook, probably more that I need or should be and it has got me into some pretty hot water at times.

Facebook is where I go to share my sense of humour. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is debateable, but my almost daily joke spot generally goes down pretty well, groans and all. I would describe my humour as devilish even cutting sometimes and often I use Facebook as a place for my sitting down stand-up.

For instance, a few years ago I virtually ran the London Marathon. I was virtually there at the start, virtually ran the race dressed as a chicken, I even posted my completion certificate to prove I’d virtually done it. Of course I was only virtually there, I could no more run a marathon than persuade Tony Blair to be honest.

Last week I was at Glastonbury critiquing Florence and the Machine’s performance, complaining about my dodgy knee, bemoaning the fact that somebody had dumped outside my tent, and missing a performance by Jason and the Cuttlefish; a legendary and wholly fictitious group that I made up. Of course, again I was only virtually there.

Later that same week, on the hottest June day on record, I posted a picture of myself virtually dressed in a lime green mankini to many people’s amusement / disgust /  outrage (delete as applicable). Of course it wasn’t me, just a picture of some chap who bears a passing resemblance to me that I pulled off the internet and Photoshopped to look a little bit more me-like.

I also really went to Southport and took the picture above. Yes I really did go to Southport and there really is no place like the ocean, but this isn’t it. This is a snap of a mural pasted to the wall of the Beach Hut CafĂ© Bar where I had a really good sandwich and a coffee. I guess it’s easy to assume that it’s a beach I’ve visited, but sadly not. It’s still a nice picture though.

If you feel fooled I’m sorry, it’s only a bit of fun and I always leave clues in my comments. But there’s also a serious point to my experimental chicanery.

It is far too easy for us to portray ourselves as people we are not in the online world. Practically everything I post is true, but sometimes the devil in me has to have his day and if I can do it, then so can everybody else. My point is this: don’t believe everything you see on Facebook, or Twitter, or Linkedin and react to it. The online world is just words and pictures, open to interpretation and manipulation. That is what Britain First, terrorist organisations, many businesses, and some very nasty individuals are doing.

But they aren’t doing it for fun.

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