(Anti) Social Media

SpamApparently there are some 97.4 billion, yes that is billion, spam e-mails sent each and every day – that’s a lot of junk mail.

The problem is, it’s not just mail, it doesn’t take into account the amount of spam sent each day via social media.

The spam ranges from twee “words of wisdom”, through cute pussy cats, ill informed, ill researched political propaganda, to offensive, overt and covert, racist propaganda from the likes of so called “Britain First”

What I find really ironic is many of those who post the Britain First propaganda are those who claim to be socialists and Labour supporters – do they not realise the origins of Britain First?

It’s an offshoot of the right-wing British National Party (BNP), whose founder is said to have links with loyalist militants in Belfast.  

All credit to them though, they know how to prey on people’s, albeit irrational, fears. Which goes someway to explain why their vile propaganda gets some two million shares on Facebook each day.

Union Flag Wind BreakerHaving said that, I have issues with patriotism and jingoism anyway – why should people show blind patriotism and loyalty to the United Kingdom just because they happened, by some coincidence of nature, to have been spawned and born on a random lump of rock in the eastern Atlantic Ocean?

And don’t even get me started on the more ridiculous Scottish, Welsh, English, Cornish etc. etc. etc. so called “nationalism”.

Yes there are plenty of good things about the United Kingdom but there is a lot that is bad and the country is getting worse and is becoming increasingly intolerant.

I've been criticised for saying I'm pleased England were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup, people have called me unpatriotic. It has nothing to do with patriotism - I want the best team to win any sporting tournament and the way England played they deserved to be knocked out - I would not want to see England go through at the expense of Australia or Wales, both of whom have played better rugby.

It's the same when England play in the football World Cup - why should I support a bunch of losers who don't deserve to win the tournament - just because I reside on the same lump of rock is no justification for supporting losers.

I also love the irony of a country where people complain about immigrants not adapting to “our way of life” yet this in a country where Chicken Tikka Masla is almost the national dish and there are Chinese / Indian / Turkish / American etc. restaurants thriving on almost every High Street in the land.

This is the country where people complain about immigrants “imposing” their values on them but they reside in a nation which arrogantly imposed their "values" and "standards" on the rest of the world.

British Empire MapPeople complain about immigrants from the Indian sub-continent wanting to maintain their way of life when they come to the UK, but did the British not try to impose their way of life when they invaded and subjugated the Indian sub-continent?

It isn’t just in this country though – I have several Australian based Facebook friends who post photos saying that those coming to Australia should accept the Australian way of life and not try and impose their values and ways of life. Was the same option given to the indigenous Australians when their way of life was totally destroyed by European settlers? Or is it a case of double standards?

What about the Brits who cannot even assimilate when they visit another country on holiday. Even going away for two weeks they still have to live the British way of life – why else are the Spanish / Greek / insert any other country, resorts crammed full of British pubs and fish and chip shops?

This brings me on to the drinking culture in this country.

Saudi Arabia MapThere have been plenty of self-righteous protests and shedding of crocodile tears this week over the fate of British pensioner Karl Andree, languishing in a Saudi jail and facing a punishment of a public flogging for flouting the strict Saudi no alcohol rules.

Incidentally, why is mention made of the fact he’s a pensioner – it’s irrelevant.

I have no sympathy for him whatsoever, he knows the rules and laws of the country in which he was a guest. It’s irrelevant if we think their punishments are inhumane and barbaric, those are the laws of the country and those visiting the country have to obey the laws – if you don’t like the laws in a country don’t visit it, simple.

Someone called the Saudi laws medieval – presumably because they are based on Islamic law and involve Islamic punishments.

However in the UK we have an “Established” church. Is it any less ridiculous or medieval that our laws are based on a different interpretation of the “sky fairy” myth.

People complain about the power of clerics in Islamic countries, yet in the UK senior clergy are automatically given seats in the Second Chamber and proceedings in the upper chamber are begun with prayers.

The USA is no better, although officially a secular state, a recent opinion poll showed that 51% of Americans would not vote for a Presidential candidate who is a Muslin but, even worse, 53% said they would not vote for a candidate who said he was an atheist. If that’s not a medieval mentality then I don’t know what is.     

It seems Andree arrogantly presumed he could flout the laws, he got caught and has paid the price.

Of course there has been a predictable massive outcry in the UK – how hypocritical. How many of those taking the side of this silly old man are the same people who say those coming to the UK must follow our laws and our way of life?

The double standards of many is nauseating.

Drunks in publicIt’s a shame the UK doesn’t take a tougher stance on alcohol. Then it may be safe to visit High Streets late at night without having to endure drunks falling over, looking for fights or simply being abusive.

Maybe our emergency services will not have to face being abused, spat at, assaulted – shall I carry on – every night because people think it’s their divine right to consume so much alcohol they are no longer responsible for their actions.

Maybe it would relieve pressure on A&E departments who are faced with sorting out the detritus of irresponsible drinking.

For all its many, many faults I somehow suspect, late at night, the streets of Saudi Arabia are far safer than most in the UK and their hospitals are not at breaking point due to the number of alcohol related cases they face.

Anyway I’m digressing from the theme of the amount of spam on social media.

OK, very occasionally, there is something which is quite apt or pertinent in all the spam but perhaps people can answer me the following questions, all based on stuff that has appeared on my Facebook timeline in the past couple of weeks.

  • What is the point of posting details of a missing person in another part of the country, sometimes a different country, on your timeline?

  • What are you trying to achieve by posting ill researched, inaccurate, information to try and score a cheap political point?  Simply repeating a factually inaccurate statement doesn’t somehow, magically, make it correct?

  • Why do parents post photographs of their cancer suffering children? Is it some kind of vanity on the parent’s part – “look at me aren’t I a caring parent sharing my child’s suffering with the whole world”. Is your child more important than other child cancer sufferers who carry on with quiet dignity?

  • Do people really care how many levels you have completed in a particular game – change the options so they don’t post on your friends timelines, most couldn’t give a toss.

  • I don’t care how many days there are until Christmas.

  • And don’t get me started on the bloody Minions – the creators must be laughing all the way to the bank – all that free publicity!!

Bloody minionSocial media is great for keeping tabs on what your family and friends are up to. Often it’s the only way you do know what happening in your family.

I love to know what my friends and family are up to, I love looking at your holiday photos (within reason, please don’t post the out of focus, or head chopped off ones like some do. Just the highlights will do).

I love to know what culinary delights they have created, or where they have eaten. I love to know what they are up to.

What I don’t want is the spam.

I don’t care what total strangers are up to. I don't need trite "words of wisdom". I don't believe in an afterlife - this life is a big enough pain in the arse at times, the thought of an afterlife, going on forever and ever, doesn't even bear thinking about.

I do care about children who suffer from cancer and other debilitating illnesses, it breaks my heart – but I care about all of them not just those who appear on my timeline by virtue of their self-indulgent parents and passed on by people who don't even know those involved.

I’m not interested in political propaganda (OK I admit I sometimes get so wound up and I do bite – but I’m only human) nothing anyone posts on my timeline will change my political views.

Luckily Facebook has some brilliant filters so I’m able to block a lot of the political crap I don’t want to see and I’m getting better at filtering the other rubbish as well.   

Please, let’s keep social media social and not make it anti-social.

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