It was September 29th 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 but mused as I usually do to keep the subject ongoing. ‘What about the young people that 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 thought with you as you are probably aware of my views of social media.


The last major firm I worked for introduced E-Mail in the early 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 non-work chat. In pre-IT days these social aspects in the workplace were 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 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. I realised that there existed in the firm certain factionalism, exclusion and shaded dislikes which I had never guessed at prior to using emails, as though the new format had unleashed what had previously 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 commercial email format I extrapolated my previous thinking to believe that doing so would not enrich my life. I realised that I only had this option of choice because I was retired. 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 use 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 that one day we will be able to plot on a 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, not as powerful as images. To illustrate this, I will give two examples; the murder of George Floyd by a policeman in May and the toppling of the statue of the slave trade, Edward Colsdon in June. No words would have had such an immediate impact on society as the images of those occurrences. At first I thought I would be able to make a list of these different forms of communications as a universal scale like the Beaufort scale but then came to see that such forms are subjective and, therefore, not subject to scientific measurement. Therefore, what I would like to propose is that a list of your top 10 preferred means of verbal and non-verbal forms of communication.