Etiquette

I think when you post a view on social media, there are always two things that go on:

  1. what you say, and
  2. how you present it.
The former just represents your point of view and might be perfectly rational or not.
The latter is the key to your point of view being accessible. It might be inaccessible for several reasons, even something as innocuous as the language you’re using. I think there’s a pre-requisite that you can convey your meaning in the chosen language. It raises an interesting point with regard to stroke survivors, some of whom have difficulty with the nuts and bolts, although their thought process is intact.

But I think you can cross a line by choice also by your choice of words. Insulting, patronising, swearing, in some cases. I find even just bringing emotion into things can be a turn-off. I followed a post in a political forum this morning (which describes itself as for political anoraks, so judge for yourselves what that makes me!) in which a chap called somebody a **** (they used real letters, but I’m afraid you’ll have to guess as it’s not something I’m comfortable repeating). The effect of this was that whatever view this guy was propagating, it didn’t go any further with me. So it was ineffective in trying to convert an open-minded reader to their cause.

I do think that the goal of social media posts is not to win an argument – people, especially as they get older, have pretty fixed views and aren’t going to change them because of something you say – but to convince a third-party reader that your view is a reasonable one. Often, if you happen to be disagreeing with someone, they’ll provide that “reason” for you, often by the way they present their argument – being rude or unreasonable or something. I think if you’re going to have a view on politics, then a part of that view is understanding other people’s position, understanding where there is agreement and where there might be disagreement. And, I think there’s generally more agreement than we might first think.
Plus, of course, the other important thing in debating is knowing when you’ve made your point, then stopping. People can always re-read it if they wish.

Addendum:

Do you see what I mean? I turn off when I see the word “Ayatollah”, and any remaining point is lost. I have seen one already about Rees-Mogg, which claimed (incorrectly) that his own constituency (North East Somerset) had voted to remain in the EU. I duspect anybody who follows current affairs would know that, so a fairly obvious lie.


Fundraising

I do sometimes get disillusioned with charities. I follow a few – especially, but not restricted to, stroke charities, especially since my own brush with stroke.

In my professional life, I worked with a variety of clients and, basically, you negotiated as good a deal as you could. But there was no “career ladder”, for example. I think the high water mark for me was £800/day, about £100/hour, even this was several years ago so I would expect, in today’s money, it’d be even more. With this in mind, therefore, I pretty much consider that the biggest donation I could possibly make to a charity is my time.

But I see ads on tv (lots and lots of them!) and posts on social media, and I appear very much to be in the minority. There’s lots of fun runs, for example, but they’re all quite thinly-veiled sponsored events, basically aimed at generating cash. Exactly as I used to do on a sponsored walk, say, when I was 10 years old. It’s pretty clear, both in terms of the thrust of the adverts, and also where the recognition happens (so-and-so is a star because they raised £10000, say), that the main driver for charities is to get hold of your cash. Not your time, but your cash.

Don’t get me wrong. Money is a great enabler. With more cash, the charities can do more. I know all about being enabled as the money I earned from my job enabled me to visit luxurious hotels and restaurants, to happily head to the Mediterranean for wonderful holidays, and to drive around in a Porsche 911. So I know how, when you start off with a bundle of cash, nice things can follow.

But cash is only ever a means to an end.The ultimate goal of a charity is nothing to do wish cash, it is to help people.

I’m not speaking out of sour grapes – these comments are really just an observation. I’m not speaking because the charity work that I do goes pretty much unnoticed – in fact I wouldn’t really want it any other way. My goal in my charity work is to do what little I can to help people who’ve recently been touched by stroke rationalise what has happened to them, and in that respect, the charity itself is an “enabler”, enabling me to go onto the ward and speak to people. Plus, of course, my efforts only amount to an hour or so every fortnight, so one could hardly accuse me of working tirelessly! Indeed, my metric is, and has always been, whether my visits benefit the actual patients or relatives – so in that respect, any goals that the charity night have as regards fundraising are incidental to me. Quite simply, if I didn’t think I was helping people in some way, then I wouldn’t bother

It’s ironic, really, because my greater experiences in this area (I’d never have registered all these things a few years ago) actually make it less likely that I will donate to charities. If my wife is no longer with us, then my will specifies that my estate will go to the welfare of my animals, and I’m still happy with that arrangement.