Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"My Telegraph" poser

Well now, there's an interesting situation developing on My Telegraph in which I have decided that discretion will be the better part of valour.

It's like this: there's a highly articulate "new face" by the name of Simone_w who speaks a great deal of common sense, but once in a while - and this is a personal view obviously - a hint of youthful callowness intrudes.

Yesterday I posted the following to Simone's post on the subject of street beggars, in which she expresses amazement that we do not all drop coins in the tin, on the grounds that it would be judgmental not to do so. She makes it abundantly clear that she is following the examples given to us (allegedly) by the founder of Christianity.

I keep my money, nett of income tax and NI, in my pocket

ColinB 15 May 2007 20:40

You refuse to judge a beggar, Simone, which is fine. I have no problem with that. But is there not a sense in which you are implicitly sitting in judgement in those of us who choose not to underwrite the lifestyle of these individuals - which is, after all, a matter of deliberate choice on their part ? Nobody is forced to beg. There are jobs for the unskilled which pay the national minimum wage. For those who are not medically fit, or have mental disorder, there is the safety net of the social services - both State and charity-funded.Homelessness I grant you is another aspect, which is a complex one in how it develops, and how to deal with on the ground. But dropping coins in a tin simply perpetuates and, in a sense rubber stamps, the status quo, and as each day goes by, the chances of escaping from that ever downward spiral decrease.

Later, I posted a comment on Malbonster's blog, in which he cheekily invited us to volunteer our ages (about which more later).

In scanning the other comments one sees Simone declaring herself to be just 13. It was simply that, a pure numerical reply, with nothing else to indicate whether this was irony on her part, which I doubt, or should be taken at face value.

Let me say straightaway that I have nothing whatsoever against youngsters posting to My Telegraph, provided their parents have been consulted. But I for my part am relieved that I have learned sooner rather than about her (supposed) age.

I will frame any future replies accordingly.

But what about others who are three, four times her age, still commenting away merrily on her posts, apparently unaware that they are engaging with a lass who is barely into her teens.

Someone I feel ought to tip them a wink, as I very nearly did that this morning: but how does one phrase it, so as not to appear dismissive of someone who is clearly a bright young lass, one whom her parents can justly be proud of ?

Any ideas anyone ?

Incidentally, I posted a second comment to another of Simone's threads yesterday (proving again she has maturity beyond her years in teasing out our responses).

It will explain (in passing) why there will be a short hiatus in my blogging activity for the next few days.

My Tel a counter against social atomisation ?

ColinB 16 May 2007 07:54

I'm 62, but trapped inside an Adonis-like body (although not everyone "sees" it first time - you have to kind of look straight through, like you did with those Magic Eye books).

I shall be in London for the next few days, re-engaging with that youth culture to which Malbonster refers. My daughter, the youngest (27) of our 3 is collecting her MRCP, so she and her 2 older brothers will no doubt ensure we experience the buzz and vibrancy of our capital city again (we now ive in France).

One of the greatest changes in UK society is the so-called atomisation, due to family members living further and further apart, working mothers, less mixing between neighbours, less involvement in clubs and societies etc etc.

It will be interesting to see whether My Telegraph and similar social sites can assist in reversing the trend. Older folk may well have the confidence (or foolhardiness?) to allow a gradual blurring between the real and virtual worlds. Already on this site we see examples of folk agreeing to meet up, as Phil Slocombe will attest (if he's reading this!).

I'm trying to decide if the "social atomisation" angle is worth developing in a full post to My Telegraph, ot whether it's too self-evident to bother with further. Again, ideas are invited.


Anonymous said...

nice blog and a nice tag u have given...keep goin

ColinB said...

(reply from Shane Richmond to an email I sent, putting him in the picture re this tricky situation) :

Hi Colin,

I read your post earlier today with interest. I had noticed that we had a couple of older teens on the site but, to be honest, we had assumed that a Telegraph Group would not have been of interest to younger teens! We'll look into this and decide how best to handle it. I don't want to block younger people from the site - and really there is no reason why we should - but perhaps, as you say, we should flag young teenagers somehow.


Shane Richmond
Communities Editor

Louise said...

Sorry - this rather late - still catching up on backlog. I was rather surprised at Shane's comment that young teenagers should somehow be flagged. If Simone is really 13, I think she should be flagged as a brilliant example of her age and not as 'beware this is a teenager blogging'. I don't think she is 13 (I mean my dog put me down as 6 ... mental age perhaps) or if she is, then she is light years ahead of her peers.
So please no flags for teenagers - otherwise might we soon be flagging blacks, Asians, Jews or whatever. Not what I would call free speech.
And it's good for us load of geriatrics to have some feed back from these kids - they aren't all thugs, chavs and hoodies!