ANALYSIS: The real reason that social media are a curse.


mesnip18716 I was talking to a good friend yesterday about this and that. Actually, I’ve never met this “good friend” – such is the nature of the internet – but I’ve known her since BW – Before Waspi. She was saying that one fellow SPA victim has 4p left in her purse until Saturday. Yesterday was Thursday, and we’re talking Great Britain here. Why don’t more people care?

Today, my good friend in turn will have to go for another assessment to see if she “really is” still unfit for work.

This involves her sitting with some 30-something privatised snot-head and, basically, begging for some money from the State which has so far welched on £12,000 worth of pension income they promised her in 1955. She is 61 years old with diabetes, and the beginnings of cataracts.

“Breezing through life” for my chum involved being married for 25 years, raising two children, and then going through a divorce. So she gets nothing at all from her ex – although she spent 15 years being the sole carer for his mother. Don’t go there: some people are just nice, and some aren’t.

Her savings are now exhausted, so the one asset she has – a flat – is now on the market which, in her region, is dead. Fine if you live in the London property bubble, not so good if you don’t.

Her kids both have ‘jobs’ haha: one is paid the legal minimum by a posh charity, the other has a zero hours contract joke that is but one small step above serfdom. They help when they can, but they too are struggling week by week to keep their heads above the sewer water.

The word “scandal” is hopelesly overused these days, but the issue of State Pension Age ‘reform’ (today’s term for screwing the citizen) is on the radar of only a very few Britons. Somehow – through leadership mismanagement, government lies, PR naivety and media apathy – the public awareness of the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Injustice) campaign remains tiny.

As it happens, my friend is very media-savvy and full of good ideas about how to put pressure on the Government. But Camerlot that begat Mayflower represents (even for a lifelong politically MOR bloke like me) an Administration that has lost any moral compass it ever had…..and never had the compassion required to guide it in the first place.

In Cruel Britannia today, the only way left for the vulnerable is to grab the ruling Establishment by its overactive scrotal sac, and squeeze very hard indeed.

Most of the Waspi community don’t “get” social media, and this is both a good and a bad thing. It’s bad because they’ve lost touch with how media influence is marshalled these days – and thus believe that victory will be theirs if they keep turning up in Westminster with banners, while singing anthems and shaking hands with powerless Opposition MPs.

But in other ways it’s a very good thing indeed. For I’ve reached the view over the last two years that the problem with such media is not that they encourage the preference for foul abuse over fair debate. Rather, it is that the rest of us get a false impression of what most people are really thinking…..because such media attract, variously, the atypical activist, exhibitionist and generally extreme personalities in our culture.

Twitter, for example, I think gives all of us who use it an overly pessimistic impression of how the majority thinks in 2016.

According to Twitter’s own stats, only 37.5% of adults in the UK ever use Twitter….about 13 million people. And remember – that’s ever use, not regularly use.

In fact, only 13% of these tweet monthly.  So even on that basis, tweeters are just 4% of the population. The regulars we see on there every day are like the commenters on blog threads: a minute and almost certainly unrepresentative fraction of the population.

One of the reasons I started the new Slogpage Twattering Classes was to try and demonstrate some of the extremes of poor logic, hysterical abuse, opportunistic stats, banal thinking and wild conclusion-jumping that passes for mental normality on there. There are wonderful exceptions like MarkGSparrow, Bshaum, Anna Raccoon and Ed West, but that’s what they are: exceptional people offering wry truths in an engaging manner. On the whole, the general tenor of Twitter in the UK is what I’d imagine Dodge City in 1865 would’ve been like with Grant Shapps as the Marshal. (In the US, on the whole, it’s even worse).

Are the social media a bad thing? Yes, I think generally they are. I use them for hits, and ruthlessly avoid feeding the roaming nutters whose sole objective seems to be to suggest that the rest of us are Nazis with a penis inadequacy. For me, such media are a means to an end – but nevertheless, one more nasty that emerged from the Pandora’s box we call The Web.

But why are they a bad thing? Generally, I don’t think it’s that they turn normally well-balanced human beings into screaming banshees: I think it’s that they become havens wherein the extreme personality types can masquerade as the mainstream.

On Facebook, I post shots for a few friends and try to raise awareness of genuine bad stuff being done in the name of necessity. Look at the medium as a whole, however, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that two things are in play: narcissism, and the continuing cultural obsession with celebrity. It’s a gallery in which bigheads can show how well they’re doing, and wannabe fameys can look as if they live a life followed everywhere by the paparazzi.

Similarly, Twitter is (I’m sure) for some like doing the lottery or filling in the pools coupon: hit just that right note, and your Tweet will go round the world and back. For five hours, you really will go to the ball, Cinderella.

And yet, for something like WASPI that badly needs to capture the public imagination, it is the “fame element” of social media that gives a clue to what it badly needs.

Blogging, tweeting and Facebook posting has, in 99+% of cases, little or no chance of rising above the rest of the ego cacophony out there. As any experienced user of new media knows only too well, in most instances something one creates goes viral because a genuinely famous user picks it up and retweets it to his or her following of 74,000 tweeps.

Generally speaking, while FB pages are a useful way for Waspis to stay in touch, social media as a whole are very uncomfortable for this type and age group of woman. Also, in recent weeks, Waspis have seen what a powerfully pernicious tool even Facebook can be in the hands of the censorious.

I suspect that the main priority for SPA Reform victims right now is the search for a celebrity benefactor with the determination and bottle to turn a non-events into a calumny that must be corrected. I wonder what Joanna Lumley’s doing next week.

But in the meantime, even those down to their last 4p have to find ways to laugh about it. Few people can make being poverty-stricken funny, but LouisCK can:

Last night at The Slog: Hillary Clinton goes blackberrying

25 thoughts on “ANALYSIS: The real reason that social media are a curse.

  1. Like a lot of WASPI women I have taken to the Internet to try to spread the news about the injustace of it all. Although I have got used to the Twitter/Facebook world, it is still is something I don’t normally do. The anger I feel over losing my pension has drove me to get involved and put myself in the firing line on a number of occasions. When I have put comments on Twitter I have been hounded by detractors (don’t really know why they are so anti WASPI) that I feel get so nasty it is bordering on bullying. I think it us sad that women aged 60+ who should be in a quieter time of their life have to go through this in order to get their case heard.
    Thank you John for supporting us and I really enjoy reading your Slog. The comedian was brill, made me laugh.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have been better informed by the “nutters” on the interweb, than i have by CNN, BBC, SKY! I would rather spend my time with weirdos, mavericks and nutters if better insight is the result. Would I come across WASPI concerns on the BBC or SKY?
    How would a writer with anti-consensus insights breakthrough in the past? Not easily.
    You dear SLOG are a “nutter”. You are unconventional, critical of the status quo. Do we really want the consensus of Madame May or Murduch on BBC/Sky?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JW

    Whatever one thinks about trolls the government uses trolls first, during the referendum Dimbleby was ? A TV troll and all the other pundits as well. Whenever I see Dimbleby now, I just think “that f%cking troll again and turn over, switch off or tune out”.

    Populations are currently being subjected to infowars by their own governments for control, even the the Labour candidate saying we must have another vote … behaving like … yet another troll and a lying one again … no mention of how it would detrimentally affect the power of your vote is there? Nope … hidden away … never to be mentioned.

    Two types of troll, truth and deceitful ones.




  4. I’ll try again ..the have made a mess of my browser………..It is your blog!
    Some bint from the UN was on TV this morning trowing a bit of a fit…because the UK had voted Brexit…inferring that we were on the way to naziville instead of their own later day gulag in the EU.
    She went to town full on…….. hardly taking a breath…got the impression the exit result has made a mess of some plans they have in mind for European man.
    The UN is now top of my usual suspects list !
    There was no need for what happened to Haiti: When I returned from East of Gib in the 50s , some care was taken that we were not set loose infected some bibical plague. What they did to Haiti (10 thousand dead ..and counting).. !


  5. A little teatime story…are you sitting comfortably?…then I’ll begin…

    The Three Billy Goats Gruff
    A Norwegian story

    Once upon a time there were three Billy Goats Gruff; Little Billy Goat, Middle Sized Billy Goat and Great Big Billy Goat, who lived in a field in a green valley. They loved to eat sweet grass, but sadly their field was now brown and barren because they were greedy goats and they’d eaten every last blade of grass. But they were still hungry. In the distance they could see a field that was full of lush sweet scrummy grass, but alas there was only one way to get to it – over a rickety bridge over a stream. But under the bridge lived a terrifically terrifying terrible troll called Trevor – he was always hungry too. And there was nothing he liked better than to eat a nice juicy Billy Goat.

    The Little Billy Goat was the first to reach the bridge. Gingerly he put one hoof and then another onto the bridge but because it was so rickety, however hard he tried, his hoof still went trip trap, trip trap on the wooden planks.

    Suddenly there was a huge roar. ‘Who’s that trip trapping over my bridge?’ and out from under the bridge loomed the Troll.

    Quaking in his hooves, Little Billy Goat Gruff managed to squeak ‘It’s only me. I’m only going to look for some grass to eat.’

    ‘Oh no you’re not! I’m going to eat you for my breakfast, lunch and tea!’

    Trolls – huh! What are they good for? Absolutely nothing.

    But these days, trolls don’t hide under rickety bridges – trolls lurk on Twitter, waiting to pounce and they love nothing better than a nice juicy Waspi to pounce on, chew up and spew out with no conscience as to their victim nor their circumstances.They don’t want Waspi’s for their breakfast, lunch or tea – they want them gone (just like our government does) – it seems that these trolls are quite organised and actually quite sinister.

    There are a lot of false friends stirring things up for Waspi just now – please keep calling them out John – and thank you for all that you are doing.


  6. Have recently raised with my local WASPI group the names of high profile WASPI’s, who may be up for joining the cause. Names as follows:- Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, Caroline Quentin, Pauline Quirk and my personal fav….Annie Lennox. Quite a formidable bunch eh? So I’m going to dust off my somewhat shelved pr skills and see if I can pull in any favours from my old press/music industry contacts. I met Annie some years back. Decent intelligent woman and always seemed to be up for fighting against injustice. Born 1961, same year of birth as myself and of course there’s her well known song “Why”, which could be a great WASPI war cry? Non? So if anyone else thinks they can get any of these ladies on board with WASPI great. Emma Thompson is on her way to the Arctic Circle fighting climate change, so probably not available for a few months………..


  7. John, magnificent Waspi support, I feel gutted about the cases that you have highlighted. Any men who are in the “So What” camp need to grow a pair and hope that some aged female carer on minimum wage does not apply tight stout rubber bands to their testicles by way of remedial treatment. Seems like the Shitesse, our even worse than Scameron , is under NHS financial siege….. but nobody mentions the illegal/immigrant/AfricanAsianTourist Scams…..

    Perhaps the NHS should be free to Waspi, War Vets, anybody with a !0 year UK positive fair tax record. (as in … not…Non Doms and wives with a Greenish hue….. hey that would be awkward for some Monaco mavens?) However, HMRC is yet another Jewish enclave….. beholden to crap coffee , or any other US franchise.
    The Monaco Jew reminds me of Aaron of Lincoln…… We only have to trace the need of Cromwell to finance his assault upon England, Ireland, etc…… and then fast forward to the, er, translation of Pension Funds into Monaco Funds……. and the so-called Pension Police were asleep……. but they keep pensions!!


  8. Some words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama:
    People were created to be loved.
    Things were created to be used.
    The reason the world is in such chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.


  9. @ kfc I totally agree…. if only the others would agree! Perhaps one has to account for United Nations Agenda 21 and rogue states like USA and Israel?


  10. Can’t be bothered with Twitter due to the gruesome twosome who act like children. They ‘report’ back to each other on WASPI issues (that they supposedly have no interest in but appear to spend their lives looking for info). Sometimes good for a laugh though when they slag some WASPI member off because they can afford to buy a bottle of wine.go on holiday. I think they are too thick to realise that some of us WASPI supporters are not destitute but fighting for those who are – a concept they don’t get and now, sadly, the WASPI leaders seem to have no time for in their pursuit of personal gain.


  11. Seems it is obligatory in the MSM in OZ to reference the days stories to social media, which is about as meaningful as the slack journos fallback to quote the views of cabdrivers (in other words they were only in town for a day to write that expose). You got to admit is cheap and quick for the 24hr news cycle but then ago I would not know what is what in that regard, I don’t bother probably like the other 90 percent on the planet. No point in asking the monkeys what the organ grinder is up to!


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