MY FACEBOOK DEBUT

And a few stray thoughts for the week when we discovered the reach and the power of the social media. With help from my new IT savvy friend, Siddhartha Shankar, I made my debut on Facebook on Monday. I was provoked by the 33rd anniversary issue of the Herald of October 10 which had no mention of either me or founder chairman A C Fernandes.

I was angry that the blood, sweat, toil and tears I had spent to build the Herald even though I was paid a pittance was not even acknowledged. In 2003, when I quit the Herald, the managing director’s drivers received a higher salary than me. I must confess that the managing director and I were at loggerheads as he was only interested in money and had no passion about protecting the legacy of independent journalism which was the hallmark of Herald.

I ALSO posted the first instalment of my new series on the political monsters of Goa on Facebook. I continued to be astonished by the response I received to the post, with a little help from groups like Goa Speaks and Voice of Goa. Dozens, if not hundreds, of former employees of Herald who had worked with me responded within minutes and hours.

They are spread all over the world. I discovered that all the birds that had flown away had migrated to distant lands ranging from the Gulf to Australia. One responded from China. With the rare exceptions, I was overwhelmed by the love and affection of my former colleagues who quit the Herald not because of me as some people like Frederick Noronha would make out but because the Herald was such a stingy employer.

I was as much as victim of the stinginess of the management as in later days the hostility of the second generation which took over the ownership. I am amazed that the responses were so quick as to be almost instant, unlike the bad old days when you could contact people only by writing letters or making trunk calls.

Moreover, Facebook and Twitter enable you to establish and interact with friends and enemies alike instantly. I am still reeling under the pleasant shock of being connected to the social network in real time. I have also discovered how addictive and destructive it can be.

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