Up until October 2016 I had made a point of avoiding the social aspects of the Internet. It's ability to suck time away from the things I love doing only bettered by the bile and lunacy one would encounter on looking behind the curtain. I was rather wary. Katie Hopkins is on it after all, never a good sign.
But here I am, I have to connect with people that read my books I was told. I now have a smartphone, Twitter, Facebook and by some cackhanded use of my thumb I have Instagram apparently...
Facebook has ended up pretty much as I expected. My author page is like a neglected step child, dusty and unloved. My personal timeline is a vat of filth, silliness, kitten pictures and dark humour generated as friends and family trundle through their daily lives.
What has proved a pleasant surpise is Twitter. I know I'm years late to the party but it is something of a revelation. There is a fair amount of the expected lunacy, but it's leavened by some genuinely nice and interesting people. Who would have guessed just how sweary @simon_schama was?
I have watched and noted that sometimes bad things happen (see the above mention of Ms. Hopkins). I have devised a few rules to avoid disaster:
- Talk as if you were within arms reach of the person.
- Avoid politics, with the obvious exception of Dear, Sweet Trumpolini.
- Moderate one's language, I do rather need to keep my day job at this time.
- Don't try and engage with and change the mind of those who hold "interesting" views. Even a 99 tweet exchange on why "barbaric Islam" and the "preservation of the white race" are a slightly narrow and misguided starting point for the basis of one's world view will probably not change much.
- As a woman, do not be surprised when some express shock and disbelief that you can comprehend the witch craft that is the two stroke cycle. Or that you own a torque wrench.
I have of course broken all of the above, but I am trying to be a better person honest.
For the record I am left of centre with a libertarian twist when it comes to social issues. I can do reasonable centremass groupings out to about 200m. I like kittens.
It's been quite fun so far and if you're here after reading one of mine feel free to say hi on twitter. I'll pop stuff here now and then but that's where, er, I hang my homies.