Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

The smartphone is very new, or at least it is to the older generations. A couple of decades ago social media didn’t exist and if we slip back to, let’s say, the late 19th century, if you wanted to talk to someone you would have to be within earshot. You
H'apenny Stamp
could have written a letter (If you could write!) but in 1902 the combination of printing technology, cheap postage (it cost a ha’penny or 1/480 of a pound) to send a postcard) and efficiency of the postal system
led to a massive increase in the sending of picture postcards. They were a quick and low-cost means of communication before the telephone was widely used. Postcards were the prime social networking tool of its days, With up to six post deliveries a day in major cities – sometimes as many as 10 in London, people knew they would be received within hours. Messages such as "I will be over to see you this afternoon" were commonplace.

"All of a twitter!" I suppose the origins of that old saying is based on a tree full of birds which
Birds in tree
really are all of a twitter. A Murmuration of Starlings would be a classic example. Today ‘Twitter’ is just one of a host of social media websites where we can twitter to our hearts content. The other day a young woman came to see us. As we chatted and shared the inevitable ‘cuppa’, she rested her iPhone on the arm of her chair and regularly glanced down at it and pressed a few keys, presumably receiving and sending texts.

Texting at table
Similarly whilst having supper in our local fish and chip restaurant, we saw what we assume was a Mum and Dad with their teenage daughter. All three of them had their smartphones on the table. There was little, if any, conversation between them apart from maybe pointing out something on one or other phone. Or maybe they were texting each other rather than having to talk. I have no idea what they were texting but it would probably have been in SMS shorthand, perhaps

M jst havN (O--< & chips @ Bannys. d (O--< iz lovely, d chips R a bit cold"
In English this would be
"am just having fish and chips at Bannys. the fish is lovely, the chips are a bit cold"

How does a geriatric like me know that? I found a a text translating website
and yes, according to them (O—< does mean fish. I would have thought it was easier simply to type fish but what do I know! I know I am showing my age but why do I need all this ‘twitter’? Do I really need to know you have had cornflakes for breakfast; you are sitting next to an Asian man on the bus; the red spot on your top lip is getting better and your morning toilet activities really do turn me off.

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