i Editor's Letter: The positives of social networks


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The Independent Online


Thanks to all of you who wrote in or tweeted me on the subject of my debilitating bout of hay fever. It is clearly a blight on so many of your lives too. Several of you offered an explanation as to why the situation was made worse by the endless rain that followed our warm and sunny March. Still more of you suggested drugs or other remedies. As I am not too sure about some of your medical qualifications, I propose to give the idea of a daily dose of "local honey" a crack – although I am not fond of the stuff and may struggle to find "local" in W4 or W6, my area's postcodes.

Shared affliction, a common desire to battle it, the genuine, widespread contributions of those with nothing to gain in return – all demonstrated the oft-ignored positives of social networks. This response came on a day of a fascinating presentation here at i from Facebook on how to better use the social network as a professional tool for journalists.

Now, I know that i's readership is probably divided into those who use Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and the rest with an enthusiasm that might sometimes border on obsession, and those who lament their existence, as Terence Blacker discusses.

I would ask the latter group to look again, forget the conspiracy theories and embrace social media as simply a way of communicating in the 21st century. That said, I am old-school in social media terms in that I regard Facebook as something genuinely for "real" friends – although the talk gave me much food for thought in a professional capacity.

What do you think? Would you welcome more interaction between you and i through Facebook and Twitter? Or, is the paper and website enough? email: i@independent.co.uk; comment: facebook.com/theipaper; or tweet: twitter.com/stefanohat and let me know.