Is there a silver lining in the cloud of social media

   I slipped into fifth and at the same time my mind went into neutral. Driving around gives me plenty of mental down time, especially when You and Yours comes on (at the same time as Jeremy Vine which means there is literally nothing to listen to on the radio). Today as I made my way back towards base the interweb suddenly dropped into my thoughts. I remember I was vexed about the weather forecast. On the strength of it I had decided that my original decision not to take a van load to Shepton, a decision that had been reversed, would now stand. There were dire warnings of floods with comparisons to 1953 and 1978 when >3.000 people died. But it all turned out to be hype. Very little snow, hardly any ice and no floods.
   From there I got myself quite wound-up about the way we overreact to everything. Viz. the massive reactions to what turned out to be exaggerated weather forecasts. Its got the point where someone says “jump” and people on twitter either say how high or call them a very rude word. Nothing in between. Rational debate has gone. Twitter bestrides the world and hype rules.
   Its only a fashion, a trend and it will pass through, like the moon pulling the tides one way and then the other. The BBC don't see that though and Twitter dominates their editorial decisions. The Beeb is in a dreadful dreadful state, no longer the reliable trustworthy source of fact that it once was; just a megaphone for gossip, innuendo and, the latest fad, false news. Truly a post-truth BBC.

Bear with. This waffle will be tortured into having a tiny tiny smidgen to do with antiques. Anyway, why take one word when there are so many freely available.

   It is, I have to say, a very negative state of affairs. People are no longer allowed to hold a different opinion, and should they have the temerity to voice such a thing they get rounded on by bullies and bigots very quickly, rendering them silent. I know several people who are happy to have a difference of views and a friendly chat, but none of them will engage on Twitter because of the bullies. Shame: the debate would be much richer. But bullies are beginning to rule the world. The main media outlets respond to mass opinion (yes, you, BBC), and worst of all, if the government doesn't do the same immediately, then all hell breaks loose, until they have to. Mob rule has taken over. Its very sad, very wrong and somewhat worrying.
   But I can see a light. Its a bit tenuous, even weedy, this light, and may be a long way down the tunnel and could well turn out to be a train coming the other way, but I have hope. Thank goodness. For without it there would be little to look forward to.
   I think the hope is that we will eventually get used to mob rule and learn to discount it for what it is; manufactured hate, false indignation (generation snowflake, I'm watching you!) and a playground exploited by bullies (brexiteers, for example, I'm watching you). I think we will learn to disregard most social media hype and take our time. The old adage that today's news is tomorrow's fish and chip paper still holds true, although fish and chips off an iPhone does not taste the same as off the News of the World (“want any saucy with that?”).
   We should wait. Not react to the instant reactions of the insulted and indignant, for their ill-considered and ill-informed or simply retreaded entrenched views are not the ones that matter. Quality takes time. Thinking takes time. One day most of us will come to our senses, or at least everyone else will join the rest of us at last, and when that day dawns we will truly be free. Free of trends, Free of fashions, free of being victims.

   And from then on we'll be able to do what we want, no longer slaves to cool trends (Hipsters, I'm looking at you!) no more buying something because we ought to, but a return to buying something because we like it or because it does what we want. Antiques are on the way back; mark my words!
   Every cloud...etc.


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