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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Tyler

Technology during Lockdown

For many of us in the 60+ age group, (OK, I know I am well past 60, but it makes me feel good to say that!), we have been forced by Lockdown to embrace the new technology in ways we might otherwise not have done.

Many of us, for the first time, have learnt to zoom. I for one did not know what zoom was until the pandemic struck. Even those of you who have zoomed for some time with distant family and friends, will probably not have used it to access lectures, music (from Opera to Folk), theatrical performances (from Shakespeare to stand-up comedy), and so much more, perhaps business meetings or a charity's AGM. Who amongst us could have imagined all this just a year ago.

I have been using the internet, largely for work, for about two decades now, but it is only during lockdown that I have come to explore its wider possibilities. I am amazed that it is like a perfect encyclopaedia in which rests all knowledge, something that was science fiction when I was young. As an example from my own use of google, I have in the last week researched topics as diverse as goose grottoes in Carmarthenshire to the silhouettes of red kites (I was trying to confirm a sighting I made on The Downs when returning from my vaccine jab).

Yet, my biggest discovery has been Twitter. I was forced on to it when I began this blog. Currently I only use it to advertise new blog items, and to support The City Lit (where I was Principal for over 10 years). In Twitter, or on Twitter, (not sure what the correct form of words should be), I have discovered a huge alternative universe of information and pleasure. Of course, Twitter has a dark side - think Trump and fake news; but all public media, throughout the ages, has had dark corners. That is the nature of information in a free society. I don't choose to buy books or magazines containing the dark side of humanity and likewise I don't follow on Twitter the sites you often read about in letters from 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'.

We all have a choice on Twitter to join the sites we want to join and not to join those we don't; and, moreover, we also have the choice simply to observe the sites we've chosen rather than answering them or even contributing to them.

What of the Twitter sites I follow. Well, hardly unexpectedly to those that know me, I follow Bristol City's official site. I also follow some political sites which share my views, and some that definitely don't. Know your enemy is my watchword here. My own sites range from Byzantine Legacy to Bristol Historical, from military historian Peter Caddick-Adams to military historian Gary Sheffield, from Folklore Thursday to Mosaic Monday, from Professor Kate Williams to local historian Caitlin Green, from The Plodding Historian to Professor Susan Oosthuizen. My list just keeps getting added to, almost on a daily basis. Whatever your interests there will be a great deal on Twitter to enthuse and entertain you. It is a wonderful way to unwind and gain tranquillity. I love the photos on wildflower hour, for example, and on Discover Norway, a country we still hope to visit one post lockdown day.

Many of us have found new interests or renewed old ones during lockdown. We have made contact with friends old and new, we have spoken with family members we had half forgotten. My wife and sister in law have even found new family members they didn't know they had due to conversations on Facebook (now I am not going on Facebook, Twitter is quite enough for me to deal with!).

I've spent money on my coin collection, after all we are spending less, aren't we?, but books have proved my downfall. My savings on petrol, barbers, restaurants and so on doesn't really match my expenditure on books. I understand that Jeff Bezos is minded to grant me a special medal at the next Board Meeting of Amazon!

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