One of the problems with being an expat is how dreadfully out of touch you get with things back home. It’s not just that I have not met my nearly six month old niece (sigh!) and ever only seen my godson once (he’s now two) because that’s another blog post.
Apologies for sounding as if I am of pensionable age but my point is that I find re-visiting home while you are living overseas makes you feel like a total fish out of water, especially when struggling to make sense of new technological advances. The Oyster card and that old craze for wearing headsets with mobile phones really threw five years ago. Last Christmas I struggled to understand what the newest multi-megabite ipod had to offer and what on earth a Nintendo DS or a Wii was. I still haven’t got to grips with Playstation (and hopefully never will).
In addition, on returning home, there’s always a new, bewildering set of reality TV based celebrities who I have never heard of splashed all over the magazine pages (mostly, I admit; Now, Heat, Closer, OK etc).
Plus, there are new buzz words that sound completely alien. 'Sexting' and 'Twitter' are a couple of pertinent examples so far in 2009, I have done my best to find out what they mean before publically embarrassing myself with ‘English’ friends.
I understood the concept of 'sexting' when somebody explained the new teenage craze, though was not sure that those three teenage girls who sent nude photos of themselves to male friends in the US deserved a criminal record for child pornography. Realistically, it won’t put any other teenagers off sexting will it? - though it is certain to terrify their parents.
Twitter? I’m not too sure about it. Apparently sending short messages or 'tweets' to ‘followers’ (thousands if you happen to be a celebrity) is the most immediate method of relaying information to a large group that exists; i.e. the internet version of texting. Press send and you have sent your missive to scores of recipients. Barack Obama used it during his election race, Britney and Stephen Fry swear by it and have hundreds of thousands of followers. Apparently it is very useful for those in the computer industry who want to exchange information instantly on viruses but I'm not sure who else uses it in a professional capacity?
My friend said she thought Twitter was sad.
‘Imagine feeling that you have to update people on silly details about what you are doing all the time? As if people cannot bear to be alone? It’s all this 21st century business of having to ‘be in touch’ all the time with non stop mobile phone calls and texts. I preferred the old days when sometimes you just couldn’t call. What happened to a bit of peace and quiet?’