. . . for my kids. . . and good friends


I'm just back from ten (non-blogging) days in Jordan during which I've reneged on one of the fundamental tenets of my modern existence. For anyone who's read my recent post "Smart phone, stupid people" it may seem a big betrayal. And I've required some high-end sophistry to explain it to myself.

Gulp; I've joined Facebook. Sorry. I tried to find an alternative, even a surrogate to do the dirty work for me, but it wasn't going to solve the problem. We've been supporting our bedouin friend Saleh in Wadi Rum for nearly four years now; quite successfully. (Have a look!)

However seducing and pontificating can take you only so far. Eventually you need to embrace the unpredicable, uncontrollable, careering world of social media.

Then you have indeed been suckered into the 'honeyed trap'. The hundreds of visitors we've attracted to Saleh and his lovely family really want to talk about their experiences and share their photos and videos (have a look!) Who are we to deny them?

So, fine, we establish a Facebook group -- amazing, simple, though a bit lumpy and awkward in places. But undeniably effective at providing more or less exactly what we wanted and at no cost to us at all!

One huge problem for me; I can't set up a Facebook group unless I'm a member of Facebook; not a massive surprise. Our wonderful web-designer got his hands dirty first; but it soon became undeniable, as the requests to join started trickling in, that I would need to become the administrator.

So I now exist on Facebook as 'Tudor Injordan' (with posts limited to that dimension of my life).   i was so shocked when people asked me with minutes to be their friend. Do I need friends? They always bring with them obligations! But, of course, once you're in, you/I can't stop getting a bit more involved.

Being a member enabled me to post photographs, which I don't want to do on the blogs. And to write in a very quick and easy style. And to hear what my 'friends' have been doing. And to start to realise that this bunch of friends was a bit unrepresentitive, so should I ask more and different friends to join me, etc etc.

You see why I called this post entrapment. I hope my low-key engagement will protect me from the horrors of over-exposure. I'm trying hard to be restrained and limited in what I write and what I reveal. It has been heartening to see the warmth and interest already from those who've joined the group in the first few hours.   And useful comments too; including some pretty well-grounded criticisms of Trip Advisor.

This practical outcome is not the whole story. There's a powerful theoretical (existential) aspect that was mentioned to me in passing by a matter-of-fact social media trainer who'd been funded by the Americans and others to work with the tourism sector in Southern Jordan.

She'd been trying to teach our friend Saleh about the e-frontiers he needed to cross, without of course having the respect even to glance at his own rather impressive web-site! Two days of 5-star hotel workshops only in English for a group of bedouins and tourism operators.

However, when I phoned her to say thanks for the support and ask for advice for Saleh and copies of the overheads, she came out with a phrase that, to quote Dudley Moore, "makes you think!"   I have to say I'm not certain it's original but it is important: "If you're not part of the conversation then in a very real sense you don't exist!"

To move it a bit further, you can either be fairly passive or you can be an active and dynamic contributor, protecting and enhancing your own interests. Stay on the sidelines, sticking to your old views/approaches and it just passes you by. This was rather reassuring on a personal level! but if you're out there in the business world (or providing volunteer support to a very good friend in Rum) then, eventually, you have no option.

It seems to be going quite well already. We have a mailing list of 1,200 who've contacted us about Jordan; they now know about the Facebook group and they're joining and posting. I'll probably report back here on progress in due course.

Beyond that, as I continue to wrestle with ideas about group identity (whether in Lebanon . . . see earlier post; or among indigenous peoples or where-ever) I'm becoming aware of new web-based ways of 'being'. Suddenly a very recent report (21/1/13) about redefining human identitiy makes a bit more sense to me: "Social networks such as Facebook and on-line gaming are changing people's view of who they and their place in the world, according to a report for the government's chief scientist.

As I say, if you're not part of the conversation you more or less cease to exist!  You have the choice: disenfranchisement by default or entrapment!  Another good reason to stayhungrystayangry.   


Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 06:33  

Add comment

Security code



FacebookMySpaceTwitterDiggDeliciousStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditNewsvineTechnoratiLinkedinMixxRSS FeedPinterest

login form

Copyright StayHungryStayAngry.com 2012