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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Eleven Plus Ombudsman

Primitive societies, without a written language, have limited fields of awareness about their past. History tends to become distorted – and drifts between myth and real history. It is felt that a story can hold its own for about twelve generation before significant change are made.

I have just looked at Stephen Fry’s Twitter. As of this moment there are 3402 updates with 54 877 following and 655 666 followers. It would have taken a medicine man many many years to build up such a large group of adherents.

Mr Fry must now feel that his twittering is a habit that he has to feed – when ever he is in the mood. There is however a difference between pure memory and habit memory. Pure memory would be Mr Fry remembering incidents and facts that actually happened. Habit memory is a little more complex. Habit memory takes into account memories of the past – including traditions, information gleaned from school, the neighbourhood and society in general. So some of Stephen Fry’s twitters could help us to develop our thoughts and ideas. His last twitter included the words: “God bless Bill Gates. (I never thought I’d say that.)”

These words open up feelings about Microsoft, Bill Gates, philanthropy and spending money. Mr Fry gives us the ability to reflect as well as look to the future.

It is possible that twittering could possibly be a modern manifestation of the development of language – all encapsulated is a restricted number of characters. Twittering naturally can involve the past, the present and the future. Twittering, however, is a written language so there is a digital record. There is no need to twitters to be passed down through twelve generations.

If we look back to the past some societies used drums to communicate brief – but sometimes powerful messages. Just like twittering – it must have been possible to interpret the drum beats in different ways.

One problem with the present eleven plus is that there is now so much information available through the internet, books, papers, teachers and other parents that it must be difficult to work out what is myth and what is reality. If Stephen Fry twits something it must be right – otherwise any one of his thousands of followers would be able to put him right.

Who can put the worried parent right? We are long past the sound of jungle drums. We can not believe everything on the internet. There must be trusted books and publishers. Certain playground gossip must be correct - at times. Perhaps we do need an official eleven plus twitterer. So here we are with the first clarion call for the: “Eleven Plus Twitter Ombudsman.” Any takers?

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