Is Social Networking Still Fun?

Film, Media, Reading & Writing

Last week another sock-puppet fell, this time at Pan Macmillan, where one of the marketing heads was caught faking reviews for clients. It’s hard to feel aggrieved about this, given the pressure everyone’s under to perform and get out there online pushing books. Over-enthusiastic writers and publishing PRs have simply overstepped the line, and at least RJ Ellory apologised. But there are many more out there who have been doing the same thing for a while now.

It’s getting very complex. Contrary to public belief, much of publishing is robust and many sectors are doing nicely, but the emphasis is still on the writer handling most of their own PR, which means that they have to do social networking. I have Facebook (personal) and Facebook (publishing) accounts, Twitter, Goodreads and my website to deal with, but I usually only post when I have something to say. Plus, I enjoy doing it and have the time. Not all authors feel the same way. And I frequently step out of my depth when attempting to do stuff online.

The public ignore sales techniques if they’re overused – that’s why the internet didn’t end up merely a welter of trashy ads – and there’s now a generation coming up that doesn’t automatically feel the pressure to minutely detail their lives online. Indeed, I have a few friends in their twenties and thirties who aren’t interested in being online at all. After the peer-pressure of school stopped, they realised they were free to choose. And so things find their own equilibrium again.

It must be wretched for anyone who does not enjoy the geekiness of heavy screen time in a job where they have to use social networking constantly. Situations must arise like the ghastly one in the first episode of ‘The Thick Of It’s new season, with out-of-their-depth ministers trying to make sense of social networking before embarrassed teenagers.

The trailer below doesn’t cover that awful moment but I have no idea how to download a streamed clip from iPlayer and
upload it to YouTube, or if it’s even possible, which I suspect it’s not. Or may be if I was savvier. See what I mean?

8 comments on “Is Social Networking Still Fun?”

  1. snowy says:

    Another thought provoking post. But to skip to the tech bit. The easy way to link to a clip on iPlayer is to pause it at the bit you want and use the automatic link creation function in the iPlayer.

    Or it can be done manually by copying the programmme link and adding ?t=XXmXXs after the terminal ‘/’.
    So if the clip is to start at 10:27 it would be ?t=10m27s

    There doesn’t seem to be a way to include an end mark that could be parsed out to stop the show, so it will just play till the end. Bit poor that.

    It is possible to do it the way you outlined, it’s only data, but it’s a lot of faff.

  2. ediFanoB says:

    I highly appreciate your use of social networks
    “… I usually only post when I have something to say. Plus, I enjoy doing it and have the time.”

    I’m a blogger and I do the same.

  3. snowy says:


    I’m sure you carefully craft these to be just a bit provocative.

    Well [flexes fingers] there seems to be a lot of confusion about what is social networking and stuff that happens to be delivered via a social media platform.

    In your list there was only one item that would fit a definition of social networking, your personal FB page. The rest are narrowcasting with a very limited amount of audience participation. This blog like any other blog is a perfect example, it is the creation of and focused on the interests of the author, which is what exactly blogs are for.

    But it’s not a social network, that would require all participants to have equal one to one private communication. On a blog the owner sits atop their personal Mt. Olympus, while the ‘children’ frolic about in the comments to the amusement or displeasure of the host.

    And while we stick to the house rules it’s OK. But if I were to pull Helen’s virtual pigtails, or bite Dan’s virtual nose, or even take a massive No2 in the corner by spamming, down come the lightning bolts. It might be a bit ‘social’ but it’s not truly a network

    Facebook started as a rather stalkerish application to enable geeks to check the relationship status of mainly female students at their college. and only morphed into a social network when they summoned up the nerve to send instant messages to ‘ZOMG girls’. Now it’s just another tentacle of the ad industry. If anybody has amongst their friends, kitchen cleaning agents, bottled yeast spread and toilet rolls. Let me be absolutely clear, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, and should STOP IT NOW!.

    Twitter was a solution looking for a problem, and is only an extention of texting, going from a one to one model to a one to many system. It has some accidental value due to the resilience of the web infrastructure in emergency communications. But separating the good stuff from the vast background noise is very difficult. Most of it is not worth reading, full of people with more opinions than sense [OK, pot, kettle I know, holds hands up].

    People will try and use it to sell stuff, and if they can sugar coat the ads with enough decent content people will tolerate it, but only tolerate it.

    It’s the illusion that there is a back channel, or the possibility of two way conversation, that drive most of this, the idea that someone actually cares. All based on human vanity.

    Ads on the internet you say? Not seen one for years, easiest thing in the world to block them all. And the tracking stuff that follows you from site to site, to stop that requires no effort whatsoever.

    I think there was a point in there somewhere but who knows? Not even I.

  4. Dan Terrell says:

    Snowy: I have just ordered one of those Silence of the Lambs nose-protectors, without the mouth extension. And I’m not at all certain anyone should pull Helen’s pigtails, as I’m quessing she might work in a school environment and, therefore, may have a ruler to hand or a yardstick for the reach.
    Cheers! I don’t do those little yellow faces. As always, I learn something new since having to take a gov. paid course in Cobal.

  5. John Howard says:

    Come on Snowy that’s a bit over the top isn’t it? Is this one of your personal bug bears? Obviously you have a bit of a feel for this computer tech stuff and I would love to know how to stop the tracking stuff, ads I can ignore as both you and admin point out. I’m not defending anything cos I think admin’s a big enough boy to do that himself. I do agree with all of the above and I think I can see the point blinking shyly out.

    I’m having difficulty getting visions of Dan with nose protector out of my head though. I suspect that I will have to go to sleep tonight with all the lights on. As for Helen, I suggest that you watch out for the hockey stick swinging out from behind the pig tales (Hi Helen)

  6. snowy says:

    I’m very sorry folks, I just got carried away. 😳

    But by golly was it cathartic, I felt so CLEANSED at the end.

    Dan, Helen, I would never dare to do either action described above, it would be against good manners, I’d have to ask for permission first.

    John, I don’t just ignore the ads, I block them so they never appear on the screen at all. I literally, in the true sense of the word don’t see them.

    How to do it? It depends on the browser you are using. But the two applications I use are available for most, and a quick search will find them, but I strongly recommend going through the add-on tab in the browser itself, the version you get will be the latest, and importantly will have been verified.

    ‘AdBlock Plus’ kills almost all ads. You can easily customise it if it misses a few.

    ‘Ghostery’ lets you block beacons and trackers.

    There are none on this site, but it will not stop our host seeing where you came from and where you go to next. He can also see roughly where you are on the globe (to within about 25km). But they can be beaten as well.

    Good heavens, the sun must be over the yardarm by now!

  7. Helen Martin says:

    I started a beer at 3:00pm, three quarters of an hour ago so I am feeling rather mellow now. How did you people know that until 2 years ago I had pigtails and in 1954 I must have been the last in our part of the world to have them dipped in an inkwell. I’m retired now and have been for almost 6 years so THAT look isn’t as strong as it was, but I can still call it up if need be. I couldn’t go back to my school library because the need for technical knowledge is much greater than I possess and you’re expected to be able to assist teachers with their network problems.

  8. John Howard says:

    Thanks for the info snowy. Now my night time sweats will be of a cleansed snowy instead of a masked Dan. 🙂

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