27 September 2007

Treading on very sensitive toes

Oh dear! It rather looks as if I have upset someone's carefully arranged Victorian costermonger's barrow...

Back in early August, I wrote about a very rugged online debate taking place within the SfEP over whether the organisation should have a presence on Facebook, to attract new members and publicise itself to a wide audience. The debate swiftly turned into something else - namely, how sinister is Facebook because it collects data on members. Those in favour of taking SfEP onto Facebook became very frustrated by attempts to derail what should have been a sensible discussion about finding new ways to secure the future of the organisation and expand its membership and renown.

Some of my own frustration spilled over into this blog and I used the term Luddites to describe some of my more stubborn colleagues. I make no apology for that.

Nevertheless, those SfEP members on Facebook banded together and set up an "unofficial" group there. It has already drawn at least one new member into the SfEP.

Today, someone calling themselves Faceless left a comment on that entry. Hmmm, it would have been fair comment at the time but leaving it until 6 whole weeks later was a bit pointless. I have been pondering the identity of Faceless, who clearly knows who I am but prefers to leave anonymous remarks on an out-of-date blog instead of picking up the phone and communicating directly with me. That's what I call gutless. And I'm 99.9% certain of Faceless's identity.

The most irritating thing is that same tiny band who would prefer that SfEP remain stuck in a time warp continue to stir up discussions about how awful Facebook allegedly is. Yet none of them have been on there to see it for themselves and criticise from a position of knowledge. Nor do some of them have any qualms about inventing facts - the SfEP Facebookers have been accused of using the group there to engage in "seaside postcard humour" and bring the SfEP into disrepute. Neither of these is true of course, but the detractors will never join Facebook to see for themselves and get their facts straight.

I would find it all quite laughable if it wasn't so pathetic. And if I wasn't being sent offensive mails by some so-called colleagues because of it all.

The SfEP is a fantastic organisation for editors and proofreaders. Our leadership works incredibly hard to boost the profile of our profession, to raise professional standards and to provide excellent membership benefits, among many other things. It's a real pity that the small handful who appear to hark back to some mythical golden age (when all editors tugged their forelocks, used blue pencils and quill pens, and drank lashings of ginger beer) seem so hellbent on stopping progress.

But, as one of my colleagues once said, albeit in a slightly different context, the gloves are off now...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why fb is making people so anxious. And accusing fb users of caving in to playground pressure is very odd - surely it's natural for educated, free-thinking professionals to want to explore new technologies and make up their own minds about it?

I wonder if these same people use Google - isn't it collecting all sorts of data about our searches?