Erikka Askeland: Latest from sock-it-to-’em social media

Erikka Askeland
Erikka Askeland
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I THINK I have now seen pretty much everything. This is mainly since facing the sheer horror of viewing a video of a woman giving birth which some weird guy posted on Facebook.

Don’t worry, it was all quite artfully done considering the hapless husband behind the camera seeming to have used his smartphone to shoot it. There was enough obliqueness of angle as well as those paper blankets distributed to doctors’ offices to ensure the birthing mum’s modesty, mostly.

But, geez. Who thinks that such an intimate moment should be just uploaded to some website for all to see? I don’t even know the man, or woman, or baby. The video icky merely showed up in my “news feed” because one of my friends had commented on it. (How could she not?)

Now images of the woman screaming, spread-eagled in stirrups while a slippery newborn emerges has been made available to hundreds of folk. If I were her, I’d sock him one.

Some things you realise you just can’t unsee. And social media has a way of letting disturbing images barge through your consciousness like an unruly drunk trying to get back into the bar after being turfed out by bouncers. We of the plugged-in age now have access to too much information (TMI) about people who are as closely linked to us as the Queen, or the actor Kevin Bacon.

I have written before in this column how I’ve discovered significant events that have occurred in the lives of my friends and family through Facebook, many of whom are scattered around the globe. It came as a shock when I read that a friend I’d met in Manchester had died tragically early in an accident in New Zealand. I have also found out about any number of births, marriages, engagements, as well as divorces and cancer diagnoses.

There was a recent case where it emerged one of my university friends appeared to have had his leg amputated. The picture he posted showed him holding his smiley little son in his arms and sporting a strapped on artificial leg. I was truly haunted by it, until reading through the responses from his friends who were as stunned as I was, the truth emerged. He was just having a little fun with us. Having broken his ankle, the artificial leg was actually a sort of strap-on crutch he could rest his knee on. If he had been pictured side-on, we would have seen his injured but intact leg stuck behind him at a right angle.

Bloody Paul, he was always such a card. And while I was sorry to hear he had broken his ankle my sympathy was lessened somewhat by the fact I’d been played. Next time I see him, I might sock him one.

But the report from some publicity-seeking website or other this week which said a majority of people now post pictures of their newborns online within an hour of birth is rubbish. I know, because I did some research into this.

Okay, actually I asked Jane who recently came back from maternity leave. She reported it took a whole 12 hours before she or her husband posted pictures of their daughter online post partum.

But if recent reports are to be believed, Facebook is now, like, so over. Having recently returned to a value of more than $100 billion ($64bn) – having made a vast fortune for its super geek founder Mark Zuckerberg when it floated last year – its share price could be yet undermined by a 13-year old girl. Ruby Karp’s blog published last month was headlined I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook. Her main beef with the site was that her parents – OMG! – used it, too. So, to avoid embarrassment when dad posts something which betrays his complete ignorance of twerking, the kids are going elsewhere. They are using sites of which I know almost nothing (being the wrong side of 40 and probably hugely annoying to my niece and nephew “friends”).

Instead, they are turning to sites like Ask.fm where a teenager was recently abused and mocked to death by anonymous bullies. Sounds like such fun! Or there are sites such as Snapchat and Tumblr, the point of which baffle me, which makes it perfect for Miss Karp and her ilk.

She admitted that youngsters still use the current, blockbuster social networking pheno-menon, but consider Facebook the equivalent of having to kiss their aunty. Or watch her give birth. I’m sure we have better things to do.