Susie Fowler-Watt:

Views, re­views and non re­views, Susie ad­mits to be­ing ad­dicted to the twit­ter­ings on her phone

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -

Susie’s ad­dicted to her phone

The signs have been there for a while. I take it to bed with me, and it’s the first thing I look at when I wake up. Now, after years in de­nial, I’ve fi­nally ac­cepted that I’m ad­dicted to my mo­bile phone. I blame Brexit.

It all came to a head dur­ing the end­less cliffhange­r votes in par­lia­ment, when no one (and I mean no one) had an idea what on earth was go­ing to hap­pen. I just couldn’t keep off Twit­ter for fear of miss­ing some­thing. And then the screen time no­ti­fi­ca­tion flashed up at the end of the week, telling me my av­er­age daily us­age.

It was so shame­ful that I can’t even share it with you. But that, along with the fact that my shoul­der mus­cles were go­ing into spasm from my hunched-over­phone po­si­tion, made me re­alise I had to get a (real) life.

The trou­ble is the world is com­pletely in­ter­ac­tive these days. Twit­ter is the most ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple - every­one has an opin­ion, and you’re just a tap away from read­ing other opin­ions about that opin­ion. Just as you think you have a han­dle on the gen­eral consensus, a com­pletely op­po­site view pops up. Be­fore you know it, your head is fuzzy, your neck is aching, and you’re no more knowl­edge­able.

The same goes for on­line re­views. Want to know how good a res­tau­rant is, or whether to buy a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct? Scroll down the page to read what the peo­ple think. There’s usu­ally lots of it.

Ap­par­ently the vast ma­jor­ity of ‘cus­tomer feed­back’ is neu­tral or pos­i­tive, but then there are

the very neg­a­tive re­views: the an­gry con­sumers shout­ing their com­plaints over the in­ter­net. Many busi­nesses think ‘key­board war­riors’ can do real harm.

Nick Mills, the owner of Brasted’s - one of the county’s top restau­rants - re­cently took on a ‘rude and abu­sive’ re­viewer on Trip Ad­vi­sor, say­ing his ac­count was ‘wholly in­ac­cu­rate.’ He, along with many other restau­ra­teurs, think re­views should be left to news­pa­per crit­ics and writ­ers who re­ally know their stuff.

Speak­ing as a con­sumer (who’s only ever posted two re­views, both for ex­cel­lent ho­tels), my big­gest bug­bear is the non-re­view. Why, oh why does anyone feel the need to write “I can’t tell you whether this is any good yet as I haven’t un­packed it”, or “Bought as a gift for a friend. Her birth­day isn’t till next week but hope she’ll be pleased.”

Pan­dora’s box is open: we have asked for peo­ple’s opin­ions on ev­ery­thing and we’re get­ting them whether we like it or not. Our in­ter­ac­tive cul­ture is here to stay. The views, re­views and non-re­views will keep on com­ing.

But for my own san­ity, I am go­ing to make a con­scious de­ci­sion to in­ter­act less with the un­known, on­line crowd and more with those I can see and con­verse with in per­son. Like my hus­band, who would love me to come off Twit­ter and ask him his opin­ion for a change.

It may be tough to break the habit, but I re­mind my­self that it is a rel­a­tively re­cent one. It wasn’t that long ago that I had a mo­bile phone that just sat in my hand­bag and pinged with a text ev­ery so of­ten.

Oh those hal­cyon days…!

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