Whats That App?

I like to think I am a woman in my prime. The evidence does not necessarily support this position. There are those that think I have the technology skills of an Edwardian, retaining something of a fondness for pen and paper. I hanker after #Basildon Bond and the letter. That makes me very old and not at all in my prime.

Technology is supposed to be a liberation; enabling my computer to speak text and enlarge font at the touch of a button, so that blind and partially sighted people can participate in the world of work, and reading for pleasure, and lets not forget social media and flirting.

I am not a reliable user of technology. Yesterday I inadvertently recorded a chunk of “The Bottom Line”, as a text message, and then accidentally sent it to my son. “Are you drunk?” was the reply. At least he didn’t ask if I was senile.

I have social media and the trouble begins once I start to try to use it on my phone. It’s super easy to #tweet a copy of your latest utility bill. Luckily I have few followers. I also confess that I used to love a bit of flirting along with the giant font, and so do those around me. That is to say, others have unexpectedly read my texts because large print is the text equivalent of shouting.

People often ask me what I can see. I have no idea. I often wonder what they can see and they have no idea. Neither of us have a clue how to bridge the gap but I think I might be learning. Size, it transpires, matters.

A colleague of mine told me he could read my handwriting upside down and across the table. My notes were not for sharing but just prompts because I am old and forget stuff. This is a definite way to lose bargaining power. I’ve learnt not to do it. So why not apply the same rules when urgently texting?

In the heady early days of a new love affair, the object of my insanity sent me clear instructions on how to upload #WhatsApp to my phone. I was clueless but game. I managed to disable all of my devices, disable any further downloads and upload the football results. The source of all my troubles said, “it’s a start”, and saw the football score as a useful bonus.

This technological shambles necessitated a trip to the phone shop, where I declared that I thought it all a waste of time. I saw no advantage to this new means of texting over the traditional form. The sales assistant took the opportunity to explain the advantages of end to end encryption. Such alternatives, he whispered, were favoured by those hoping for a somewhat racier form of communication and asked if it was a man who had made the suggestion. I went pink but signed up for lessons on the spot.

WhatsApp may be encrypted but if you are typing in huge font, on a train in rush hour, you should know that the person behind you will know when you lie about what you are wearing. They will know long before you that this is not a great love but a giant con. They will know that you could probably do with exercising better personal judgement. They will make all kinds of assumptions about the person you are because they have read your text exchange.

Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine what others can see. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean to say that they can’t either.

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