Posted by Tania Kindersley.
When people are not wondering whether social networks can bring down dictatorships, they are mostly grousing about how Facebook and Twitter are undermining the very fabric of society. It's virtual, see, not real; no one can really have five thousand friends; the whole shower is one big vanity exercise, la di dah. People are just spewing vanity out into the ether, and it is no good to man or beast.
Today is my birthday. It's forty-four, a rather blah number, neither flesh, fowl, nor good red herring. I do not especially get cross about getting older, but neither do I see huge cause for celebration. Yet today turned out to be rather wonderful, both in the real and virtual worlds. There was an enchanting family lunch. My sister made slow-cooked lamb in the Greek fashion; my brother-in-law broke out the good claret; there were jokes and excellent presents. But most surprising of all was the absolute delight I took in my Facebook page. There, quite unexpectedly, I found screeds of happy birthday messages, from godchildren, cousins, old friends. My lovely friend Stephen even wrote a POEM, right up there for everyone to see. Oddly, it was even better than getting cards.
I don't know why it made me smile so much, but it did. The thought of people taking time to send little bulletins of love out through the internets was inordinately touching.
I'm not sure if Facebook and Twitter will ever change the world. Just as in actual life, there is an awful lot of detritus and dullness and pointless whimsy. For the self-employed like me, they both carry the very real danger of high-level time wastage. Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I am currently quite obsessed with the small things that make life worth living. The sending of a birthday wish is a tiny thing, when the streets of Cairo are in turmoil. But for all that, it made me want to sing and dance.
Tired now, so just a couple of pictures today, of the other things that make me want to dance and sing - dogs, and hill:
So, thank you, lovely Facebook people. And thanks too to the dear readers of this small blog, for your kind comments, your extraordinary fondness of the dogs, and your continuing support as I navigate my way through this interesting new medium.