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  I don’t
get out
Views from our ever so slightly grumpy, but often unerringly accurate, columnist
on social media
Christmas shopping will be strange this year, whether we are still in lockdown or relatively free to shop at will. Amidst all the
weirdness why not offer friends and family a voucher to spend at a local business experiencing difficulties instead of increasing the already huge profits of the online giants, as I must admit, I do far too often?
Shops, bookstores, restaurants, hairdressers, theatres, magazine subscriptions or artisans. Anything you yourself might like or need.
That way you may just be able to help keep one or two independent businesses afloat.
These small retailers have had a tough time for many years.
We ran a campaign some years ago in a group of newspapers I worked for when local businesses were finding themselves under more and more pressure from the high street giants.
Although the internet was very much around in those days, the 1990s, online shopping was still a niche pastime. The big threat was from the supermarkets or national high street retailers.
The campaign was called Shop Local. The independent businesses we targeted were offered competitive rates to advertise in our Shop Local in-paper features.
These ads included a small write-up about the business.
In return they all received “I’m part of the Shop Local Campaign” stickers to put in their windows. Adorned, of course, by the masthead, or logo, of the
I am horrified at some of the information shared. Has any of this been fact checked?
From day one of my journalism training I was told to check, check – and then check again.
Nowadays it is very easy just to hit “share” if you see something on social media. Within seconds that point of view can be spread across the world.
A simple belief can very quickly become fact – a sort of 21st century Chinese whisper. But without anyone actually checking whether it is true or not.
Just look at what is happening in the United States of America.
The presidential election appears to have been run on social media, with many wild claims made.
The biggest claim is that the election was rigged or stolen. To date no proof of this has been offered.
However, millions of Americans believe it to be true. After all, the incumbent President has said so.
 Truths can go missing
A simple belief can very quickly become fact – a sort of 21st century Chinese whisper. But without anyone actually checking whether it is true or not.
local newspaper. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, after all. IhavetoholdmyhanduphereandsayI do not recall how successful this was for the independents. It did, however, provide them with relatively low-cost exposure in our newspapers, which less than 20 years ago were still the trusted source of information.
And yes, people did trust their local newspapers in the olden days. Nowadays fewer people are relying on the Gazette, Free Press or Mercury as a source of information.
The internet, and particularly social media, is king. And, worryingly, young people in particular seem to trust everything they read on Twitter, Facebook et al.
19. We, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I, haven’t found it too tricky but I reckon that’s mainly because we are both senior members of society.
No mortgage to worry about. No job security worries to cause sleepless nights. No wondering whether there’s enough money in the bank to pay for food shopping this week.
There – being retired does have its advantages. Told you so. And during the current pandemic the greatest advantage is being able to isolate without affecting our lifestyle too much.
Sure, we have missed meeting up with family for meals out, going to the cinema on a whim and deciding that the weather’s good so let’s take a trip to the Norfolk coast.
But when this is finally all over there is one thing I will not miss – the conspiracy theorists and Covid deniers.
I am a firm believer in free speech and people’s right to have their own views. But surely to say there is no pandemic, that it really should be called Covid-1984, that it’s just a government plot and that we should ignore all the NHS advice is an insult.
An insult to our intelligence and, more importantly, an insult to the 50,000 plus people who have died in England to date.
national lockdown due to Covid- A
s you read this we should be coming out of our second

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