Lesson 11

My Coyotes and I have been sharing interesting reads/watches/listens of late.
It seems like it’s becoming our thing.
Whilst we’re separated by oceans and office spaces, it’s a great way to connect and share thoughts about current affairs and topics without having the time to write essay length emails back and forth.

I like it.
Bega Baby has got herself a subscription to New Scientist.
The Viking is all over the human rights stuff.
Kiwi Bix is on the funnies that cut to the heart and make you think.
And I’m bringing the depressing tone by sending links to some extra background reading ahead of a group visit to Krakow and its camps this weekend…

We’re sending podcasts, youtube clips, news articles and, of course (for everyone except me – I do NOT like cats!), funny cat pics.
We email them.
We whatsapp them.
We send them via group message on facebook.

My bestest friend in the world – the Pillow-woman (as I have JUST decided to dub her, for reasons she knows well, but none which have anything to do with her resembling a pillow) – and I decided when I first relocated to the UK that we needed to have a few plans to consciously stay in touch.
Sure, we communicated via social media pretty much every day, (most days for hours on end) but we wanted to make sure that didn’t fade away.
We read some great tips on various websites of things to do to keep in touch, and we have adopted a few of these:
– We have our 9pm Tuesday pictures (wherever we are/whatever we’re doing, we text a picture to the other of our 9pm each Tuesday)
– We send random postcards to each other (who DOESN’T love getting post that’s not a bill?!)
– We try to Skype at least once every couple of months so that we have great face-to-face time as well as random texts.

Why am I telling you all of this?
Why am I creating hyperlinks to everything?
After all, I already spent Lesson Three detailing my love for these women and the ways in which, no matter the distances between us, we shall always be close.

But after a particularly intense couple of days of reading some very interesting and thought-provoking material, I began to reflect on the immediacy of our lives and the readily available resources to back up points and ideas we each have.

So…

Lesson 11

The internet became a “thing” just as I started high school.

As my homework load increased, so did my ease in finding articles giving me the exact facts I was looking for.

I knew how to use a dewy decimal system as well as the next schmuck, but who wanted to enter a library and flash the less-than-flattering photo on their school ID card in order to sift through thousands of pages of a book that may or (more often than not) may not be useful to their argument?
Quickly, schools started citing “No references from Encarta Encyclopaedia will be accepted” rules when giving out exams and essay topics, which was succeeded by similar warnings about Wikipedia.
Teachers quickly learnt to Ask Jeeves and then Google, purely to check whether their students were lifting whole essays straight from these magical and wonderous interwebs.

I was a nerdy debater from way back – reaching the LOFTY heights of School Debating Captain (don’t be jealous, we can’t ALL be this cool and glamorous) – and so knew all about the twisting of facts and shifting of arguments in order to serve my own purpose.
Let’s call it “the training ground of politicians”.
I’d also been fortunate to attend a school that offered Media Studies as a subject, where I’d learnt, in depth, about the ways in which media had been and continued to be manipulated to perpetrate and perpetuate propaganda.
This combined background meant that my bullshit detector was already finely tuned and ready to sift through the onslaught of fake news.

And this internet dish is one that needs to be digested with a grain of salt.
(… as opposed to a spoonful of sugar… )
It’s great at connecting us!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been amazed to think about how easy my international move was in this age of technology, and the admiration I feel for my father who made the opposite move 40-odd years previous with none of the same assistance, let alone my great-grandparents who fled a slightly dangerous revolution a hundred years ago and just had to get on a boat headed for a new home half-way around the world and hope for the best!
The internet means there are maps at my fingertips…
It means that I can research venues to go on dates with the men-folk (#jewishmenenquirewithin – you know I’m here!)
It means that I can keep in touch with friends and family all over the world with minimal effort and fewer concerns for time differences than ever before!

So, the lesson is?
Well, yeah.
Good question.
What is my point?
My point is, that I am a social kid, so social media is a great tool for me – and for us all.
But it’s just that…
tool.
And any old troll can post whatever Trump-style lies they wish.
So…
Use the tools we have.
Develop them.
Make them work for you.
Create a Swiss army-knife style collection of them.
But let them be the icing on the social cake.
Let them feed the discussions you have IRL.

Don’t let media run your life.
Let it aid and add to it.

And if you’re meeting people online (hello Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Happn, J-Date and more…) then you DEFINITELY need to read their profiles the way you’d read real estate listings
Between the lines.

#yourewelcome
#askrabbitash
#bullshitdetectoractivate
#highschooldebatingchampion
#imissencartaencyclopaedia
#pickadatingapp

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