Facebook: friend or foe

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moreericWhat I find incredible about Facebook is that 10 years ago it did not exist and now it is one of the things we talk about the most.

I don’t know if they have figures for things like this, but surely FB’s growth from zero to a gigantic social media site is nothing short of remarkable.

Together with other social media sites such as Twitter it has played a role in revolutions such as the Arab Spring, but more importantly for our purposes, promoted more arguments between friends – especially ones from different generations – than you can poke a USB stick at.

And I am fairly certain this massive conversation we are having has some way to go, because after all FB, despite its sheer size is still a baby in terms of how long it has been around.

In time I think people will revert to normal behavior, even those who at the moment think that just about anything goes when you post news of your latest make-over or whatever. For some reason they have forgotten that golden rule that you may think everything you do is interesting but a small percentage of anyone else would.

The biggest group in the FB firing line are those who make philosophical pronouncements on various issues as though their middle name is Moses and you are free to consider their position as the eleventh commandment. Or twelfth, 20th or whatever post number  it is they are up to.

Usually they get into trouble by older people who are also, incredibly, on FB.

Well, stay cool people, the sky is not going to fall in, even if we end up with one billion Moseses on FB.

It will all sort itself out over time as we become more and more experienced about the best use of what I think is a wonderful medium – by and large. Yes, it has blemishes aplenty.

But it’s just like anything else which comes along; it has kinks which need ironing out and which will take time.

Patience is the answer.

What I find even more incredible is how dimwitted the large banks are.

It seems like their intelligence is in inverse proportion to the grotesque amounts they make in profits every year.

My wife had an old NBA Bancard she had not used for years, and fed up with the statements we received every month  – and paying a $30 annual fee for getting absolutely nothing back – decided to cancel.

Big, big mistake. You never, ever leave the bank, it seems, even after presenting yourself to a teller, telling them what you wish to do, and so on.

First they insist you pay the $30 fee for next year! Yes, even though you won’t have their stupid, useless card. I argued till I was blue that that was highway robbery, but the answer was: if you don’t pay it we cannot cancel the card.

So, you reluctantly give in, pay up and walk away thinking, well, at least that’s over.

Wrong. All of a sudden a statement arrives in the mail, saying that to effect the cancellation you need to accept receiving statements or some dumb, 1984ish thing – ignorance is knowledge, something like that – and your blood is boiling, then you think, oh, bugger it, let it go.

The bank wins. The statements still come, and I am dreading the arrival of the one with next year’s $30 fee on it.

The way I feel, it could be war, but I know that like everyone else I will probably pay because it’s easier that way. The bastards.

Boy, I’m glad I said all that; it feels much better now.


Macquarie Mall: Will it go to make way for cars?
Macquarie Mall: Will it go to make way for cars?

I don’t know if I find Liverpool Council’s plan to rip down the Macquarie Mall to let cars through it once again – after the shops have shut – incredible, but I certainly have mixed feelings.

After years of hanging around Queen Street, Campbelltown, with its own quaint one way traffic and angle parking system, Liverpool, when I got there in 2004, was a revelation.

To a fresh pair of eyes like mine the Macquarie Mall was just a great, heaving public place, and the proof of the pudding was in the massive number of people who used it every day.

It’s true that after five pm it suddenly becomes a ghost town so you can see the merits in council’s plan in that.

But something rankles about knocking down the giant chess board, the kiddies’ playground equipment, and, most of all, the fountain with all the colourful ceramic animal characters.

Apparently this was Mark Latham’s idea, after the then mayor of Liverpool had returned from a visit to Disneyland in the early 1990s.

Now  we all know that Mad Mark, as he himself has called himself, was this close to becoming PM, lost heavily, imploded, resigned, wrote a book that ripped into just about everyone he had come into contact with, and later came back as a media agent provocateur.

But we also know somewhere between his ears lurks a fine intellect, and this was behind things like rezoning the entire CBD and building the Mall.

And Latham was from way back always a supporter of Badgerys Creek airport, unlike some more recent converts who seem to change with the wind.

I am not saying don’t open it to traffic, but if it can be done in such a way that it retains its best features, the people of Liverpool I think will be grateful.


One more thing: things are about to get interesting in the race to replace Labor’s shadow health spokesman, Andrew McDonald, who called it quits last Thursday. It is not even clear yet if there will be a rank and file vote for Macquarie Fields, but some big guns from both Campbelltown and Liverpool are lining up for a showdown of epic proportions.

Makes me think politics must be a cushy job when there’s such a fight when a vacancy comes up.ericblogpic

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