August and the Federal Election

August has been a fairly quiet month for me, thank heavens! We were able to grab four days in Bali early in the month, which is my 2010 leave! Plus, we’re doing some big renovations to our house and it was good to be available to let tradies in and out at odd hours of the day.

What a strange election campaign we’ve just had and a pretty inconclusive result to boot. The campaign was pretty much a sledging match between the two major parties with little or no serious analysis by the media. They were more interested in the superficial than the substantial.

Liberal Party commentators such as Paul Murray and Peter Van Onselen did their best to get their party over the line but towards the end, Murray in particular began to sound shrill and not very objective.

There have been some howlers in this election but surely the worst came from the host of the program I used to front many years ago. ABC broadcaster, Geoff Hutchinson, has apparently started using Twitter and his silly involvement in political debate brought him a reprimand from his bosses. I’ve never heard his program, so I don’t know what his politics are. Nor should I. ABC broadcasters are meant to be impartial in their coverage of elections.

But Hutchinson’s  comments on Twitter did nothing to dispel the notion that the ABC has a left-wing bias and as such were seriously ill-advised. The incident begs the question; why is a supposedly impartial ABC broadcaster providing what is essentially comment? Why does he have a Twitter account at all? I think one word probably sums it up: twit!

Twitter is an interesting phenomenon. Why do people – ordinary people – believe that their comments are so important that they would attract “followers” who want to read every word that they tweet?  And how sad and bereft are the lives of people who become “followers” of these people?

If it were a thinker like Edward De Bono or a world leader such as Obama or other influential people such as Desmond Tutu I could see how people would like to read their thoughts on matters of import. I would too. Yes, Kevin “I used to be PM” Rudd was a twit…er…tweeter and I’m sure there were many followers who valued his comments. However, at times it became silly with news of the mundane and pedestrian things he was doing at odd hours of the day or night. Who cares! But the inane crap that emanates from some of these tweeters is about as valuable as the barking of a dog.

Facebook is another phenomenon that I believe is in its final days. Strange thing to say, you might think. But I’m confidently predicting that Facebook as we know it now will not exist in three to five years time. People (especially young people) are giving away so much personal information about themselves on Facebook that makes them vulnerable to all sorts of nefarious activity. Privacy does have a real and tangible value and I guess it’s only as people get older that they begin to understand its value.

But my main reason for saying that Facebook will not exist in its present form has to do with the virtual nature of it. I believe that people will eventually get tired of the single dimension of Facebook “friendships” and cast it aside for the real thing. I think they will yearn for that aspect of being human that sets us apart from other species; the need to interact with each other in the real sense as opposed to in the virtual world. It does have a role, but not at the expense of real life.

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