A note at the start of this column – never resort to laying virtual minefields by the criminal and deplorable act of making computer viruses or hacks or scams – whatever the current term for this sort of nuisance. It is illegal, immoral, and low. It may bring you to the attention of the law…or worse…other hackers and smart-arse teenagers.
No, the virtual mines that you need to lay are honest and decent objects. The best of them are bright, clean, shining examples of good fellowship and sound thinking. Given the proper target and an accurate fuse, these can detonate wonderfully well.
Case 1. You are a subscriber to the social media page ” F—book ” – and seem to have some hundreds of friends thereon. You might be scrapping to remember those faces if you meet in the street, but there they are every day at tea break on the computer screen.
In reality, you are connected to far more people by these contacts than you might think – for they all have further lines of communication that go out and connect to others – and what is written may be borne away or brought back from uncountable distances.
Not every contact on that great net is a smart one – nor are they all necessarily kind, polite, sane, honourable, and good-humoured. Your 200 contacts might be the salt of the earth but further out you find that they have mutated into salts of arsenic…
You may not want to mine your friends, but you can certainly reach further out to mine those marginal contacts. You can blow them up at a distance. The best way is to agree with them.
Now, everyone likes to be agreed with. If it can be accompanied by praise, so much the better. It feeds the ego and soothes the soul, even if the ego is swollen and the soul really needs a good scrub with a wire brush. If you are clever with your praise you can encourage the swelling so much that the victim explodes with hubris and rains down in social pieces.
Equally good is disagreement. If you make it just civil enough to stand up in front of a magistrate you need not resile – but every mild scorn you might show for the greatness of the not-quite-great ( or of the pretended virtue of the marginally virtuous…) is equivalent to a declaration of total war. They can be relied upon to detonate with rage and commit the most ghastly spelling and syntactical errors. And all in the plain view of their net of contacts.
Case 2. Do you remember the great days of the sticker on the back of the car? When the bumpers were chrome, I mean. They were a wonderful way for the occupant of the car to make fools of themselves at 60-80 Km per hour. Then the internet came and people could go onto the forums and ” F—book ” and be unpleasant or foolish without leaving home. It’s saved a lot of petrol, mind, but I rather miss the old days of seeing the hippie vans pour out of Fremantle coated in politics and faerie dust.
Well, those days need not be gone forever. If you have a computer connected to a cheap printer and you can get Avery sticky labels from your local newsagent or office supply warehouse…you can travel back in time.
Whether you elect to travel back in your own car or via those of others is your choice. The idea is to make up a series of sticky labels with stirring slogans and display them on the rear of a vehicle. They can be political, derived from the current presidents, prime ministers, state premiers, etc or they can be religious, moral, or pop-cultural. It doesn’t take long to print up an ” Elect Hillary, Michelle, Oprah, and Pauline ” sticker in basic red, white, and blue and have it ready to clap on the back of a parked Mercedes. If you do it low down, it can be seen on the road by the following motorists but not readily by the driver. You won’t be there to see the rear-ender but then that’s the whole idea of minefields – you don’t want to be there when they go up.
Don’t be nasty with your stickers – there are enough nasty posters on the net trying to push their agendas. Be nice. Praise someone, even if it is only George Wallace or Idi Amin.