THE rise and rise of the internet, social media and other digital technologies has changed the way we communicate with each other for ever.
For those who work in my industry it has been a revolution.
When I first set foot in the Argus newsroom almost 23 years ago we produced an evening newspaper and nothing more. Stories from reporters at news events or sports matches were filed from telephone boxes to copytakers.
Now we produce a newspaper, a website, a mobile site, Twitter and Facebook pages, live blogs from major events, live online sports coverage, and we tweet from court.
All in all, the internet has been a force for good, making the world a smaller place in terms of economics and communications.
Sadly it has also become a breeding ground for bullies and oddballs.
The oddballs used to be content with writing letters to newspapers.
These were usually written on the back of gas bills in green ink so they were easy to spot.
Then these strange types, who usually want the world to know about the conspiracy that has denied them their rightful place on the British throne, discovered email and became difficult to detect. Though writing 2,000-word e-mails in capital letters is usually the giveaway.
Meanwhile, the bullies are far more sinister.
These keyboard warriors get to abuse and insult everyone from TV stars to murder victims while hiding behind cowardly pseudonyms.
They probably wouldn’t say boo to a goose in real life but the internet gives them super powers.
Their particular brand of yellow-bellied unpleasantness took its toll on Newport County chairman Chris Blight this week. Mr Blight was on the verge of quitting after online vitriol posted by so-called supporters of the club and – even worse – abuse in anonymous telephone calls to his home.
Technology has done much to change the world – but it has also given bullies another tool with which to ply their cowardly trade.
Event made huge splash
NEWPORT’S Big Splash festival last weekend lived up to its name as our miserable summer continued and the rain kept falling.
Thankfully the rain could not dampen the spectacular end of the Big Splash – a magnificent fireworks display that could be seen and heard across much of the city.
So it’s worth offering some hearty congratulations to everyone – organisers, performers and visitors – who braved the downpours to make the most of the event. The same goes to everyone else who continued with summer events across Gwent despite some of the filthiest seasonal weather for decades.
We won’t ignore police vote
I SHOULD set the record straight after my piece last week about the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners.
Some people have suggested the Argus will be ignoring the November elections and therefore adding to the democratic deficit.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
As I wrote last week, we will cover the vote as we do every other election. All candidates will get a say, all policies will be explained.
But my view remains that the elections are a waste of time and money.