I love social media

I have often thought I’d like to write something about my take on social media.  It’s been a matter of finding good context and putting it into the right words.

Oddly, my context has come from a slightly negative angle rather than my generally positive opinion; I love social media!  I think it’s one of the best things since the invention of the bicycle wheel.  But bloody Strava – fucking with 6am-er tradition!  What a disgrace.  (Sorry mum, Aunty Jan, Aunty Tracey, Uncle Brian, Deb Perry and my respected father-in-law Stuart but I couldn’t think of a more appropriate and descriptive word… sad I know).  More on that later.

Everyone has an opinion on social media; the ones who hate it voice theirs the loudest.

“I don’t have time for Facebook.  I’ve got better things to do with my life.”  Maybe watch a bit of Big Brother or catch up on your reading of the Herald Sun.

“How can you ever find the time to twot, twit, whatever it is?” – like they really don’t actually remember that the correct word is to tweet and you do it on Twitter; that would be far too uncool.  And it doesn’t take up that much time by the way.

“I really don’t want to know when one of my ‘friends’ (or ‘acquaintances ‘ because they’re not really ‘friends’ are they, haw, haw) goes to the toilet!” – I’ve actually never had one of my Facebook friends provide a status update telling me they’re on the toilet so I don’t really get where this one comes from.  It’s very popular though.

“I don’t want the whole world knowing what I’m having for dinner.” – don’t tell them then.  Use your wit or simply shut-up.

So here’s some of my take.

I don’t particularly like knowing if my friends are on the toilet (luckily they never tell me); I don’t care what their coffee or lunch looks like and I don’t enjoy being updated on what I would find quite boring even if I was there live (like cricket, Formula 1 or football).  But I’m the one who holds the power over what I see.  I choose my ‘friends’ (many of whom… surprise!… are not real friends… they’re Facebook friends and that’s quite different… just bloody-well accept that would you? I do!) and I choose what I spend my time absorbing, reading or watching.

I follow relatively few on Twitter because I’m not big on clutter.  I like being updated on very specific things and again, I’m the one who holds the power.  For me most of it is cycling. Oh, and I also follow God – whom I love…

“I’m your dope-ass divinity, trollin’ with My trinity, tossin’ top tweets in your immediate vicinity, flingin’ fly phrases from the fringes of infinity.”  (God’s tag)

He’s a very funny man apart from what he did to Job.  I never really liked that.

And Strava!  What a ripper that is.  An incredible way to stay in touch with your riding mates; to see what they’re up to and to keep a good track on your own training.  But that too comes with it’s fair share of naysayers.  On a recent ride when someone in the bunch mentioned the word ‘Strava’ they were quickly put in a box by a lady nearby who exclaimed that, “no Strava or segment talk is allowed on this ride”.  Really?  I must have missed that memo.  Actually… I must have missed that note on some other form of social media because that is how we all came to be here.  FGS! (different God… not the one above).

I believe there is an unjustified momentum against social media and I believe that in many cases, that’s where these attitudes come from.  I find it very curious to observe.

There are some amazing advantages to social media, Facebook in particular, which I would never have in any other forum.  Mostly it’s the relationships I now have with many people with whom I would not otherwise have had contact.  There are people from my graduating squad, old friends from school or church and relatives living on the other side of the world with whom, because of Facebook, I enjoy occasional contact and frequent updates on their lives and families.  It’s a wonderful way to stay in touch with these kinds of acquaintances.

As a child I grew up with my best friend Marco until we were teenagers.  He died in an industrial accident many years ago and I often think of him and his family.  Two years ago his sister contacted me on Facebook and I now enjoy a relationship with her and their mum.  Relationships which are very infrequent but where we understand the loss of someone who was close to each of us on different levels.  Nothing more expected.

My sort-of Aunty Tracey married my Uncle Brian 12 years ago.  I’ve never met her.   But she’s now my ‘friend’ on Facebook and I enjoy a relationship of sorts where we’re both able to stay in touch with an element of family that we otherwise would not.

My real Aunty Jan in Omeo follows my life and provides the fantastic feedback a nephew needs on how cute his kids are and how exciting a life he leads.  😉     I would be lucky to see Aunty Jan every five years if it wasn’t for Facebook.

My friend Ash works for the UN and travels the world working on food relief programs and such.  I’ve lived life vicariously through him for years!  If not for Facebook I wouldn’t know where he is or what he’s doing… and I like knowing that with Ash.

These little relationships simply add a bit more spice to my life.  I enjoy the knowledge of what people are up to even if it is the occasional picture of a cappuccino.  And I certainly wouldn’t have the benefit of these relationships without Facebook, not to mention my extremely important cycling social life and the Facebook hub that is Bright Cyclists.

Oh yeah!.. cycling.  Bloody Strava and the whole reason for gaining my context; some of which is around my passion for cycling and for being a 6am-er, as well as a passion for 6am-er tradition.

On last Sunday’s 6am-er ride our first climb was Devils Elbow to One Tree Hill (Tremont). I’ve done it 40-50 times in the 10 or so years I’ve been a 6am-er.  It’s a stalwart climb to the top at the corner of Churchill Drive and One Tree Hill Road.  But I get there on Sunday – about fourth from last with at least 8 in front of me – and there’s nobody there.  Nobody! I turn anyway, as is 6am-er tradition, to loop back and meet the last couple of riders and accompany them to the top.  We continued another kay up the road to find the group lazing on their frames awaiting our arrival.  Sheeesh… looping back on the climbs (<10%) is something written in 6am-er law.  It’s a golden rule.  It’s like the constitution!… sorry, I’ll shut-up. Point made.

The social media point though?  I’m told the top of the climb has now changed, “because the Strava segment finishes up here.”  The what!?  “The Strava segment finishes up here.”  WTF!

So Strava now dictates the top of the 6am-er climbs.  Strava, which has been around for two years, now tells the 6am-ers, who have been around for 15, where they finish their climbs?

Social media?  It’s a shit of a thing.

Boys – here’s a new segment I created for you.  It finishes at the corner of Churchill Avenue and One Tree Hill Road.  😉

The 6am-er top of the Devils Elbow/One Tree Hill Climb

And when you get there, turn around and come and get the tail.

Bloody ripper ride though.  Here’s the vid…

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6 thoughts on “I love social media

  1. Well said Richard – I agree wholeheartedly. Social media is a tool we can CHOOSE when and how to use. Rather like a wheel or a hammer or a weaving loom or a printing press or a nuclear fusion reactor – OK, we’ve not come far enough to see the benefit of the last one………yet.
    Luckily there is enough room on this flat earth for the philistines too! 🙂

  2. I love your comment “go and watch Big brother or read the Herald Sun” because so many who denigrate things like Facebook don’t exactly replace it with superior intellectual pursuits.

    As someone who lives eight hours away from their parents, a brother 10 hours away and another living overseas, Facebook is a god send for keeping in touch with each others lives. And guess what the really brilliant part is – you can actually choose how involved you get in it! It’s a miracle for free will!

    • Well said Webster. Your family is the perfect example for the FB advantages. I’ll bet you none if them read the HS or watch BB too. I actually considered giving up social media to give more time to signing Wrongs Acts but it was just a fleeting thought and was never really going to grow legs.

  3. I’ve ridden with many groups of varying abilities and varying cycling discipline loves (roadies, mountain bikers, trackies), and the loop back is without doubt the single best way to run a ride. fast guys get extras, slow guys don’t get left on the rivet to chase those who’ve been resting at the top.

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