| 11.1°C Belfast

Let me tell you the good news about spending time on Facebook


Screen talk: scrolling through uplifting stories on your iPad is a great way to pass an hour

Screen talk: scrolling through uplifting stories on your iPad is a great way to pass an hour

Screen talk: scrolling through uplifting stories on your iPad is a great way to pass an hour

God bless Facebook. It's the one place where you can consistently find stories that lift the heart. If the mainstream media was our only view onto the world, we'd be convinced we're living in the nastiest, most corrupt, frightening epoch since fish walked out of water and onto land (or since God created everything just the way it is 6,000 years ago, depending on whether you use your brain for rational thought or just as a device to store nonsense).

I guess I'm fortunate to have as my "friends" on Facebook, mostly people who share interesting, thought-provoking stuff as opposed to simply posting pictures of their dinner, or updates on how bored they are. (This is what I notice in some people's phone-scrolling on the bus.)

Of course, there are still lots of videos being shared of animals doing cute things, but then sometimes they are a welcome antidote to having ploughed through the papers and come away feeling soiled and depressed by the state of the world, as fed to us by the media.

So Fifa is a hotbed of corruption and more people are dying in the building of the World Cup stadia in Qatar than in any other major global sporting tournament ever.

So big companies are pushing tax avoidance in the UK and getting away with it.

So women are being raped on campuses and not treated with respect.

So Isis is killin' all round them.

So the 'mercans are doing all the mad things Americans do to each other.

So benefits are being cut. People are needing food banks, while edible food is being destroyed with bleach by large supermarkets.

People are being beaten up and killed, up and down the country. Everyone's taking everyone to court for everything. Everyone disagrees with everyone else about everything. The rich are getting richer and the poor are gettin' bugger all. And Stormont's about to collapse and the world will never be the same again.

On the other hand, there's a village in England where they're building houses in an eco-friendly way, living in small communities, growing their own food and taking care of each other and the environment, and showing how life can be enjoyable in this hectic world and how it's possible to do things differently. This story was in a newspaper originally, but well inside, not on the "news" pages.

And there's a wonderful residence for older women just opened in Paris, set up by older women who want to live well until they die, not go into a prison-like home to wait for death.

And there's a senator in the USA who speaks out time and again for common sense and real Christian values of love and respect. Bernie Sanders is an independent, a small voice, but his words get out there through the internet and inspire people on a weekly basis.

And there are stories of local acts of resistance to corporate bullying; reports of political doings that you won't find in the mainstream media and humorous, pomposity-pricking satirical takes on what's going on here and abroad; and coverage of the Arts.

It's so good and necessary to be reminded that you're not alone when you sit in your own house and dream of a world where people are treated well. It's wonderfully inspiring to see other people creating a life full of possibility.

While the main media insist on deciding what is news, based on what "sells", the role of the internet is increasingly important for spreading the good news that we are not simply passive consumers.

We are the heroes and the visionaries. Like and share.

A flatpack furniture survivor lives here

Never mind Blue Plaques on the front of famous people's houses. There ought to be big neon signs on the roof to show that the people within managed to assemble a large piece of flatpack furniture without (a) killing each other or (b) killing themselves.

As a test of enlightened behaviour, constructing furniture from drawn instructions and more than 200 components is the ultimate.

Two big sighs, three stifled tuts and one short-but-quickly-resolved slight argument over who was meant to be holding that piece, and it's done. Now, where's that neon sign.

Learning a lesson about students

You know you're gettin' old when you read that they're about to build accommodation for 1,300 students in Belfast and, rather than thinking "Great. New life.", your reaction is: "Oh, God. Litter, drunken yobs, noise ... they're gonna make that part of town awful now."

I know, I know, most students are lovely, hard-working, polite, considerate people. I know that.

So, it's a shame that the thought of loads of them living in one place produces such a negative reaction.

I guess I'm just going by what I've witnessed of the student areas around Queen's. I'll prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

Belfast Telegraph