After swearing I would never use Facebook, and sticking to my guns for years, I have finally caved in. There are two reasons why; because there is a group I am interested in and I talk to people there, and because I’m trying to get the word about my books around. I’m not sure whether the latter is having much effect yet, but at least I’m having some interesting conversations.
I must be a bit of an old fuddy-duddy, but I don’t see the point in ‘talking’ incessantly online with people I see regularly, some most days of the week. It is great for chatting with people I don’t see much, and living out of my native country there are a few of them. But although I’ve been on FB for barely a couple of weeks now, I’m seriously alarmed about some of the people who come along with ‘Friends’ requests, or are suggested by FB itself as being friends of friends. Apart from those I’ve never heard of who may have mutual friends but since I don’t know them I’m not sure whether I want or need to add them to my list, the suggestions have included even a tradesman I had a bit of a falling out with a few years ago to whom I definitely don’t need to talk. I can’t see that he’d want to get into any sort of conversation with me, either.
So you are asking me why, if I want to publicise my books, I’m being so picky. Well, in the above cases because they are all German and wouldn’t read my (un-translated) books. I had a complaint from a friend – a real one – that she couldn’t understand something I’d written on my front page. I think they call it my Timeline. I had to explain to her, and add another message for my German friends to the same effect, that I have to be bilingual online so she didn’t need to understand. I find myself sometimes having conversations with people in two languages at the same time. Since my written German isn’t up to much, it does stretch the old brain cells a little. However, English-speaking friends who like or want to know about my books are more than welcome. Deborah Fenwick on Facebook!
So I use Facebook a little but I don’t post silly personal details like what I’m cooking for lunch because I really don’t think anyone want to know. And I shall never, ever use Twitter. (I know, I said that about Facebook, didn’t I!)
Having been born in an age of black and white television, when not everyone had one (my family was one of those who did) and not everyone even had a telephone, I look back sometimes quite fondly to the days when I could disappear. I don’t mean for long, but I could go out and not be reached by anyone by mobile phone because there weren’t any. I could go for a long walk or drive and nobody knew where I was for maybe hours. OK, if I was late getting somewhere I had to arrive full of grovelling apologies and excuses about traffic or whatever, but everyone understood. Now it’s difficult to come up with a white lie about the weather or road conditions because it’s so easy to find out whether someone has been telling the truth or not.
As a crossword fanatic, it is easy now to complete a crossword – a general knowledge one at least – because the vast majority of answers are so accessible online. Just Google it and you have it. Once upon a time one needed at least a) a good memory full of oddball facts b) a Bible c) an atlas d) the complete works of Shakespeare and e) a decent encyclopaedia to have a chance of completing the things. Granted you could do without some combinations of b), c), d) and e) if your a) was pretty spectacular but that doesn’t apply to everyone.
I worked in the computer industry for a while (which gave me some inspiration for Cool Customer) but technology has moved on apace. Nowadays if I have a computer problem I need help! Especially since all the little error messages on my computer come up in German. I see my computer as a brilliant tool for various things, but I’m not a techy. Moving abroad without a computer and the internet would have made my life more difficult; at least I can communicate with friends and family quickly and cheaply. I can write whatever I want to write and save it without needing to print out thick wads of paper. (And I am very careful to back everything up just in case.) Internet banking has been made all but compulsory here so that’s another use. And there’s Google for information, Amazon for books, Youtube for amusement and all that information just there at your fingertips.
Actually, there is a lot of scope for a time travel book. I have thought about it, but there’s so much more to write that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Maybe some time.