Under pressure from the Youth Wing of the family, I signed up some while back to both Facebook and to Twitter. The pressure was subtle - as I would have suspected from the relevant individual anyway and took the form of a challenge. The suggestion was that Silver surfers could not hack it on the Internet and that triggered a Manchurian Candidate response from me.
I was quite receptive at first. At first. Just until I exercised my feeble knowledge and did a Google search. I then established that I was mixed up with a load of young tearaway as Serfdom commenced at 50 years of age. My failing powers were unknown to me. At the age of 50 I had been preparing, fighting for and controlling a budget of over £6 million, directing premises and property matters at more than ten offices throughout the UK and was lead consultant of a Facilities Management NHS contract worth just over £30 million. I was regularly walking over 20 miles a day in the hilly and virtually deserted parts of England and Scotland. I was at a muscle-not-posing-pouch-gym four times a week.
I could accept that there had been degeneration between my 50th. and 76th birthday but it was the arrogance of those who set up a age classification at 50 that dismayed and annoyed me. However, to withdraw myself from these two sites could well have intensified the calumny about age-related mental ability.
That rather extended lead-in is necessary background to clarifying my decision to leave both FB and Twitter. I had been a member of a number of discussion groups and forum where the exchanges were robust to the point of being antagonistic and insulting. Some were run in accordance with the (pedantic) rules of Usenet where the ethereal corridors were patrolled by Moderators eager to banish on the slightest hint of a misdeed. So, there can be no suggestion that I cannot keep up. In fact, it is the lack of that sort of cut, parry and thrust that sees me walking off, Shane-like, into the sunset.
Examine the claim Social Networking. Twitter has been analysed as has Facebook. I can understand the networking bit. I have been careful in my choice of 'understand' because I was always - and remain - dubious about the premise of networking. My experience as a military detective and as a commercial executive was that such liaisons were considered essential to success but I had never followed the collection of business cards and names. I am a solitary sort of bloke; individuals are fine once I have sized them up but lists of people en-masse were not my thing. The discipline of establishing secretary and PA names, birthdays, wife's forename and golf handicaps was beyond me. I thought - and have proven time after time - that I had sufficient chutzpah to telephone or go see an individual who could assist me and get what we both wanted even though we might have started the day totally unaware of the other's existence. So, I have no need of the network side of either Twitter or Facebook. It was the absence of the claimed Social aspect that disappointed me.
I had been used to a reaction to my posts. I would post or read and contribute to a thread that interested me. Back would come a response and generally I was able to follow up on that. Others would gather and we might have ten or more all participating with a wide gamut of personal opinions. Sometimes these got personal when someone would go for the player and not the ball but I found ad hominem situations quite exciting. Facebook seems to attract the middle-class; nothing wrong with that but they are seemingly reluctant to contribute anything that might be described as 'not quite nice'. They retreat behind the net curtains.
Twitter appears - to me anyway - to have a wider range of contributor but a lesser participation. I do not know the figure but I suspect that the ratio of those registered to those who post or respond is very low. There is some - to me inexplicable - need to boast of 'followers' and 'followed'. Applications boast that they will have every Red Sea pedestrian following you in the space of 24 hours. Why the hell would anyone want that? What do they do when they have them? Tweetup gatherings are announced but, whilst these might be held in social settings such as a pub, it is clear that the main attraction is - you've guessed it. Bloody networking again.
After a while, I became bored. I felt that I was having sex with a woman too drunk to know what day it was or dining with a shy virgin who kept her knickers firmly in place with men's braces. Neither challenging or attractive. I thought I might attract responses by submitting contentious posts outside the normal patterns. Nothing. Then I started being (discreetly) abusive or annoying to others. Almost zilch. A return in the realms of decimal point 0 0 sod all.
So - that is why the Aged Parent and John Wood will mount up and ride off into the purple sage resisting any call to Come Back. I cannot say I did not enjoy my short exposures. But then, I cannot say that I enjoyed anything either. To those who tried - thanks. To the others, please carry on with the Networking and God Bless. I am off back to the cut and thrust of My World.