Stuck in the middle (with bits of paper)

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Photograph of friends on Hunstanton sea front on a sunny day – without realising the lens is reversed (image: Graham Brown, naturally)

I have a serious blog to write, and I will soon.

But first I want to share with you some brief thoughts about the modern world of blogs and social media and the old world of paper – and how I am somehow stuck between the two.

I’m prompted to do so after I sent birthday wishes via Facebook to friend and former BBC colleague, Jill Matthews. She responded to correct me on the actual date of her birthday and I replied to say I would try to remember for next year or, better still, “write it down”.

Jill wrote back: “Yes. I don’t think you have quite got to grips with this FB thingy. Neither have I but I am pleased that you have a lovely wife and are living in a beautiful place.”

Of course, Jill is right. Social media tools and apps are supposed to automate all this for us but here I am, in 2016, keeping a paper record of relatives’ and friends’ birthdays.

It must be to do with my age – 58 at the last count. I grew up in an age of printed diaries, typewriters and paper but I am young enough to embrace (up to a point) computers and smart phones. That said, I am capable of taking photographs on my smartphone on a sunny day without realising the camera has flipped round to take selfies – hence the image on this article.

So I find myself with a blog, and a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. I also have accounts with Ello (where I very occasionally post) and Tumblr (where I have yet to post).

Also, I am aware of other outlets I do not use, such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Ask.fm, but have only a vague idea as to what they do.

Meanwhile I keep my appointments in an old-fashioned paper diary, an RSPB one, as it happens. And I have my paper record of birthdays, addresses and, ironically, computer passwords, kept in a Filofax, a leather one – remember those? If not, ask an older person.

Next to my desk in my home office I have lots of pieces of scrap paper for writing notes and reminders.

And at the back of the office is a large cupboard and, at the back of that, is my typewriter. I admit I no longer use it, I just don’t like to part with it.

So that’s me, stuck in the middle (with bits of paper).

Graham Brown