It was 29th September 2020 and Linie, Mads and Louis were visiting. The talk turned to Social Media and Mads said that she ‘followed’ David Attenborough while Louis said he ‘followed’ Barack Obama. I congratulated them on selecting such good examples and mused, as I usually do, to keep the subject ongoing, ‘what about the young people who follow some of the negative prominent figures?’ We stayed on the same subject when Mads said, ‘I feel uplifted ‘following’ David Attenborough.’

This brought me up with a jerk and for me the continuing subject took on a new dimension in my thinking and I should like to share my train of thoughts with you as you are probably aware of my view on Social Media.


The last major firm I worked for introduced Email in the 1990’s and was one of the first to do so. This was the start of the embryonic form of mass global communicating. In handling this new format I started to notice a change in the work place. I had always enjoyed dropping into a colleague’s office to discuss a work issue and then, if they had time and I had time, we would have a little non-work chat. In pre-IT days this social aspect in the work place was normal whereas there seems to be a trend in some sectors to consider this as time wasting. But, over time, there were less visits to other offices as more Email usage developed.

Next I noticed that some Emails copied to me were about subjects I was not involved with and from colleagues I scarcely knew and some of these contained what I would consider negative views about other colleagues and realised that there existed in the firm certain factionalism, exclusions and shaded dislikes which I had never guessed at prior to using Emails; as though the new format had unleashed what had previously been kept under constraint.


After I retired I was encouraged to open my own Email account but, having the foregoing as an example, I declined to do so. And when later, Social Media took over much of the more commercial Email format I extrapolated my previous thinking to believe that signing up to this changed format would not really enrich my life. In taking this decision I realised that I was only able to do so because of my retirement. If I had still been working it would have been a choice of ‘toe the line’ or become a non-person.


As Mads is obviously not the only one of her generation being uplifted by her usage of some forms of Social Media I have been forced to re-evaluate my views and this is the first step towards that. All humans share certain characteristics and one day we will be able to plot these on a personalised spectrum(s). Two of these characteristics (needs) are, wanting to understand and wanting to be understood and I would think that Communications lie high in the expression of such needs. Words are powerful instruments for doing this but, to digress for a moment, not as powerful as images. To illustrate this I’ll give two examples; the murder of George Floyd by a policeman in the USA in May and the toppling of the statue of the slave-trader Edward Colston in Bristol in June. No words would have had such an immediate impact on Society as the images of those occurrences. At first I thought it would be possible to list the various forms of communicating in a universal chart like the Beaufort Scale, but quickly realised that forms of communicating are subjective and therefore cannot be scientifically measured in this way. What I would like topropose that all recipients of Linie’s ‘Whatsap’ message list their top favourite forms of communicating. To start the ball rolling mine are undernoted:-

  • My thoughts
  • Being with one, some or all of the family sharing a meal, a talk an activity etc
  • Working, learning, teaching or generally engaging with work colleagues.
  • Sharing social and social activities with friends.
  • Travelling in foreign lands to learn new cultures.
  • Writing – letters, poetry, experiences etc.
  • Reading
  • Walking
  • Theatre
  • Compiling data
    Some of the above may not be considered as communicating and some preferences are obviously age related.

October 2020

The last major firOCTOBER 2020m I worked for introduced Email in the 1990’s