Are you on InstaSnapFace?

About a week ago, I read that 700,000 under 25s will leave Facebook in 2018. Actually, the figure has risen substantially since then. Who knows what to believe? The consensus among those who monitor these things is that youngsters are leaving Facebook in droves. Why? Well they don’t regard it as a social media place to call home, anymore. At least, not since the over 55s moved in. And move in we have, en masse. So while we login with our virtual elbows out at all angles, the kids are sliding off to Snapchat and the like.

Of all the social media platforms I’ve tried, Facebook is where I feel most comfy. I was late to the party, but I’m still here, and lost all fear of turning into a pumpkin, a long way back. I do have a Twitter account, that I torment myself with. Just can’t seem to get the hang of it. I enjoy reading informative, clever, and funny tweets. I’m a dab hand at retweeting and my hashtag skills are more than passable. I just don’t think I’m either outrageous enough, famous enough, provocative enough or confrontational enough to prompt reactions and responses from other users. I still blog, obviously. But blogging isn’t what it was when I first started nine years ago. A lot of my old favourites have gone the way of pubs and small cinemas. They’ve shut up shop and moved on. Maybe due to a drop in visitors, or a drying up of ideas. Most of those who are still plugging away, appear to be largely talking to themselves. This is what happens when the comments boxes become unwittingly redefined as one-way systems. “Hey, I really enjoyed this post. How long have you been engaged in the hobby you took so much trouble to tell us about?” No answer. The younger generation would probably shout a flat-toned “RUDE”, as they flash by blogland en route to Instagram.
Remember the term, ‘kidult’? No? Well it was quite popular at one time, for describing a person going through adultescence. In other words, a grown up occupying a generational space reserved for much younger people. Mainly under 16s. It’s a place where you can end up if you get carried away in your enthusiasm for the new and shiny. Worse still, you can appear tragically hip, in the sense that you’re overtly attempting to get down with the kids. It nearly always ends badly.
Am I bovvered, though? Nah, not really. I don’t have any Facebook friends under 25, to my knowledge. We more mature types like to exchange thought provoking stuff, you know. Works of art, informative articles, humorous video clips, archive footage, snaps of the grandchildren, an account of our aches and pains, and examples of our various talents and achievements. All pretty harmless stuff.
But all this talk of the generation gap has sparked a memory. When I was still in the world of work, I got talking to a second year undergrad about music. We often spent a few minutes discussing the latest ‘sounds’. Then one day he said, “Hey, there’s a band you really need to check out.”
“Yeah, what are they called?”
“The Kinks. Have you heard of them?”
“Well, funny enough…”
I wonder where that young chap is now? Well, he isn’t so young now, for a start. He’ll be around 40. Too old for Snapchat, just right for Instagram. Who knows, I might bump into him again on Facebook!

Who are you, again?

I do enjoy a bit of Facebook. The exchange of news, views and general information. It’s a place for sharing, and it can be quite an education, in a social media kind of way. People love to share, and they love to share for a variety of reasons. Pure generosity, uncontrollable enthusiasm, loyalty to the cause, etc, etc. But nothing gets shared quite as quickly or widely as the news of someone’s death. It’s customary, when one of these announcements pop up, to react with a sad emoji, or leave a short comment by way of a condolence. Easy enough if the dead person is a name you know. David Bowie, Bruce Forsyth, Alan Rickman. More recently, Cyrille regis, Jimmy Armfield, Dorothy Malone, Bella Emberg, and Peter Wyngarde.

Then there are people you feel you should know, Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, Jim Rodford, bass player with The Kinks, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke of Motorhead. Ray Thomas of The Moody Blues, for goodness sake. He played the flute solo on Nights in White Satin! So, for these people, it’s just a sad emoji, and no comment. Which feels like you’re short-changing the poor souls, but there you go.
Finally, the individual luminaries that you’ve never heard of in your entire life, yet almost everyone else seems broken beyond belief at news of their passing. I’m holding my hands up and saying here and now, in the jigsaw of my existence, there are great gaping spaces where these giants should fit. Which means that recently, I have discovered an Ursula K. Le Guin shaped piece missing, not to mention the Nicanor Parra piece which would, I suspect, go a long way toward completing the Chilean poet part of the picture. Actually, that’s not true. Virtually all the Chilean poet pieces are missing or lost. Some may have been eaten by the ghost of Rin Tin Tin.
Well, I said Facebook can be an education. My education, these days, seems to consist more and more of Googling newly departed ‘names’, previously unknown to me. 
Eventually, I might be able to award myself an Albert Einstein emoji. After all,didn’t he claim, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”?