I CAN’T make my mind up about social media. Is it a good thing or is it the work of the Devil?

OK perhaps it’s not the work of the Devil but I’m not convinced it’s quite as good as its fans think it is.

Perhaps I should be open and honest here, yes, I use social media. I am on Twitter and find it somewhat useful.

Once I’ve trawled my way through all the dross, there are some useful nuggets of information.

I follow my local police and the Highways Agency among others and I like the immediacy of the information those organisations provide.

I do also tweet, from time to time, but it is strictly to do with my work. I am definitely not on Facebook, however.

A couple of years ago I was at a seminar and one of the speakers was an eminent digital marketing expert who was giving advice to a group of students about how to market themselves in the hunt for a job.

Her main piece of advice was to ensure your digital, on-line profile is squeaky clean. She pointed out that pictures posted on Facebook from your regular Friday night out on the town may prove amusing to your friends but would certainly not impress prospective employers – unless you were applying for a summer job as a Club 18-30 rep in Magaluf.

And part of the problem, of course, is that increasingly, you have no control over what elements of your life appear on line.

To my horror, I discovered I was ‘tagged’ in some less than flattering pictures taken at a work’s Christmas party and had to plead with the poster to remove them.

It’s for that reason, I am no longer on Facebook.

And to be honest, I really don’t want to know about the minutiae of the lives of other people.

And I think the problem is getting worse with the advent of smart phones and tablets.

Once upon a time, you had to make an effort to go on social media. You had to fire up your PC and wait 10 minutes for Windows XP to fire up. You probably had to walk away from your television and the rest of the family to go on Facebook. It was a conscious decision.

Now, with the all-pervasive smartphone and tablet, social media is always with us, it is part of us, it is as much of who we are as eating and drinking.

As you may have guessed, I’m not really a fan of social media. I think it has its place – my wife uses it to keep in contact with friends in America (and to keep track of what our grown-up children are doing).

But I don’t want to know how you’re feeling. I don’t want to know what your cat/children/husband /boss has just done. I don’t want to know what you’ve had for your tea or you’re looking forward to a glass of wine so you can unwind after a hard day.

This rant isn’t without purpose.

Over the weekend, I watched a five minute video, ironically on Facebook (someone else’s, not mine). The Independent newspaper says: “Perhaps best described as ‘a little sentimental’, the video shows writer and director Gary Turk reading a poem which orders people to “look up from your phone, shut down the display, take in your surroundings and make the most of today”.

It asks how you can have so many ‘friends’ and yet still be lonely. It has had more than 10 million YouTube views and has gone viral. Yes, it is a little idealistic and perhaps a little sentimental but it does make some serious points.

It brought to mind a wedding reception I attended recently. You can hardly get a more social event than a wedding. You would expect people to be milling around, chatting, commenting on how lovely the bride looked etc.

There were eight people on my table. My wife and I made two (we don’t have smartphones).

Of the other six, for long spells throughout the entire event, they were all heads down, staring at their phones, keeping up to date with their social media lives. What a pity they weren’t putting as much effort into keeping up with their ‘real’ social lives.

For regular readers, a quick update on my rat situation. Our local rat had made its presence known to our neighbours a couple of weeks ago.

Like me, they had all declined to employ the services of our local authority pest control service.

Now, it would appear, there are any number of DIY rat traps, poison blocks and ‘humane’ killing systems on our street…but very few rats.