Back in the dark ages – 60-odd years ago you understand when I was nobbut a lad – we used to get things called letters. People spent ages laboriously writing these missives in longhand with a pen and ink, or if you were really trendy, a new-fangled ballpoint. And because it was a slow process we had time to think about what we were writing, about exactly what we wanted to say and how to say it.
But we no longer have the patience for this. We want news as it happens, whether it’s the latest economic indicators, a new atrocity anywhere in the world or just what Aunty Mabel is doing at that precise moment in time complete with photo. And modern technology has made this possible with hyper-fast worldwide communications and an ever more sophisticated set of instruments (aka smart phones, tablet computers etc.) to make use of them.
When I started as a news agency journalist back in the mid-60s we used to reckon that we had 15 minutes to correct a mistake before an item of news hit the client’s desk. When I retired in 1997, an 80-character news flash would appear on a client’s screen on the other side of the world a matter of seconds later. And seconds later that client could have made a deal involving huge sums of money betting on how the news would affect whatever market he was involved with. If we both got it right, he would make money. If I got it wrong, he would certainly lose money and be a very unhappy bunny. And I would be asked to explain how I managed to get it wrong! There was no longer any room for error.
So we no longer sit down at a writing desk and take the time to write a letter by hand. Instead we whip out the smart phone, tap out a quick SMS, Tweet, Facebook status or comment on SFN and press send. It’s short, to the point and fast. But how many times have you had second thoughts? Maybe I shouldn't have said that or not in that way. Will the people who read it be annoyed, upset, angry even? But it’s too late. It’s gone and there’s not a lot you can do about it.
Which is why I reckon we should all print this and stick on the computer screen (photo https://www.facebook.com/vegsource).