I receive a very large correspondence, principally by email: it is not unusual to receive 200 emails in a single day.
Over recent years email correspondence has grown exponentially, so much so, that increasingly I have to ration my responses. Some constituents complain that I am rude. I dispute this. Certainly, I dispense with salutations and answer the question asked without preamble. I accept that I am brief -I have to be.
Whilst, I read all the email I receive, I will make a judgement as to whether an automated acknowledgement is a sufficient response.
I confess however, that I do not read any messages sent to me via social media. So when I receive an email from Facebook telling me that someone has commented on my ‘post’; ‘written on my timeline’ (whatever that may mean); or has sent me a message, I am afraid that I take no action.
I do have a pang of guilt because I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account which I use solely for the purpose of broadcasting.
When I was Regimental Signals Officer I used to lecture fellow officers about the need to resist the temptation to have their thumbs constantly on the Clansman pressel switch (on permanent ‘send’) and instead, to listen out on the radio net. Alas, in that respect I no longer obey my own instruction: I just broadcast and don’t receive.
The reasons for this are twofold: First there are only so many hours in a day and I have a great deal else to be doing. I receive literally thousands of ‘notifications’ on Twitter, where one earth would one even begin?
Second, whilst email can be bad enough, the unpleasantness of some of the commentary on social media is of such a pitch that it would drive you to a state of depression were you to read it. I know colleagues who have been quite unnerved by what is said to them on social media.
So, if you wish to express an opinion to me stick to email email@example.com and even though it is an email, nevertheless give your full postal address, or write to me at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.