Plymouth columnist Martin Freeman explains why he does not trust social media – and shares an old joke about horse meat in our food
I DON'T do social media socially so in the unlikely event of you being interested in what I get up to, here's what I've done in the previous 24 hours.
(You might want to drink a strongly caffeinated beverage while reading on; I'm supping one to keep me from falling asleep while I write what follows.)
Yesterday morning, after my bathroom bit, I ate a bowl of porridge.
The journey to work took ten minutes longer than usual as I had to de-ice my car.
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I spoke to people and did stories based on what they told me until my lunch break.
Then I spent 35 minutes in the gym. Lunch (salmon paste sandwiches) was eaten at my desk.
The afternoon was taken up speaking to and reading about more people and writing more stories.
The traffic on the way home was heavy.
The first two hours at home including chatting to my children, making the next day's sandwiches, preparing the dinner, tidying up, checking homework and eating.
I saw 15 minutes of my favourite TV quiz programme before my son had a huge temper. That ate up the following hour as I "talked him down" and we discussed his continuing pre-teen behavioural problems.
The bedtime pursuit, ensuring he was ready for sleep and the next day's school, consumed another 30 minutes.
I watched about ten minutes of a drama serial before I was interrupted by a phone call from somebody I'd been trying to catch for a story for the last few days. That left me 15 minutes to try to pick up the threads of the plot of the telly drama.
I had 15 minutes for my own preparations for the following day and read in bed for ten minutes.
This morning was the same as yesterday, except that the delay was due to a broken-down car on the A38, not ice.
So far today I have replied to some emails, answered the phone, done some research for one story and started writing this column.
Which explains why I don't do social media socially: most of my private life is mind-numbingly dull.
And, crucially, I don't have time, partly due to my chaotic domestic life.
Even some who are far more organised and interested than I are starting to turn their backs on social media.
Ex-footballer turned TV presenter Gary Lineker announced last week that he was quitting the trendiest social network because keeping up is too time consuming
But I do do social media for work. I am registered on five sites for information gathering purposes.
You would be amazed what you can discover about somebody when you trawl through what they have put out about themselves on line, much of it forgotten about and old, but still useful. If a fool like me can (eventually) track somebody down and have them say, "how on EARTH did you get hold of me HERE?" what might an expert in the digital world be able to achieve?
Which leads to another reason why I don't do social media socially: I won't make myself find the time because I am uncomfortable about the loss of privacy.
Yes, there are umpteen privacy settings to protect me.
But can I trust the provider of the service to make them secure?
And how safe is secure? If an IT man on a home computer (Gary McKinon) working alone can cause chaos hacking into the US military system – supposedly one of the most resilient to attack in the world – what might a group of specialists with more powerful equipment achieve?
US defence contractor Raytheon has developed sophisticated software to track a person's movements and predict future behaviour.
They shared the program with the American government three years ago.
Meanwhile there is the Communications Bill in Britain, which would allow authorities to monitor phone calls, emails and internet usage.
We are told that the law, if passed by Parliament, would be an essential tool in fighting organised crime and that if we have done nothing wrong we have nothing to fear.
I'm not convinced by that "trust the people in charge" argument.
If a car has dodgy brakes and an oversized engine it is unsafe even with a careful driver. But when the passenger door is locked and a reckless driver takes over, then what?
BULLY for me going to the gym and drinking builder-strength tea.
The drink significantly reduces my risk of a stroke, according to researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Working out is more problematic: a healthy heart should prolong my life.
But gyms are prime places to pick up germs. Scientists at the University of Rochester in the US say that people who go to the gym catch minor illnesses more often than those who don't go.
Help is at hand. The same researchers have developed a software programme that tracks social media including users' comments on their health, so you know who and where to avoid.
Big Brother is watching you... sneeze.
IS THERE room for one more joke among the stampede of gags about horse meat in our pies, burgers and lasagna?
It's a vintage funny which shows that contents could vary from the label, even when meat did not move through several countries before reaching our plates.
My mum's grandad told her about a woman who always bought rabbit pies from a market butcher.
The recipe for the award-winning dish was secret. But, as she was moving out of the area, the butcher agreed to share the recipe.
"They taste so good because I always add some horse meat," he said."
"How much?" asked the woman.
"About 50-50," the butcher admitted. "One rabbit, one horse."