I now own a smartphone, although it won’t be really smart until I work out how to get onto the worldwide web.

Ironically, in the week I’ve become a smartphone owner I’ve been thinking about relegating Facebook and Twitter to the benches and concentrating instead on my ‘first eleven’ websites (Linkedin, a couple of foreign newspapers, and of course my blog).

Checking the popular social media sites seems to be de rigueur when you’re out and about in the ‘real world’ with your phone your only link to the parallel online universe.

But this week some of my family’s Facebook friends have been posting comments on a photo showing a gentleman with a badly bruised face, the aftermath of a fight that started from arguments that were aired all too easily on Facebook and dragged on far longer than they would in pre-internet days – and the very presence of the photo on a public platform has stirred up further indignation, irate phone calls and possibly more online sneering (if you don’t quite get my drift here, that just shows how social media makes life more complicated).

Twitter, soon to be floated on the stockmarket, is not a site I visit everyday. As a result, when someone I follow makes a particularly amusing remark, or posts a link to an intriguing news item, I’m bound to miss it unless I happen to have logged in recently. So, if I’m missing the good stuff, the options are: spend more time on Twitter, or don’t concern myself too much with it. I prefer the second option – just as I prefer living in the physical world, where interactions are messy but wholesome.

a smartphone