You go boss

From a fag-smoking workman in a hard hat, holding his palm outstretched towards you as you tootle along the pavement, in order that his mate might back a big van out through a gate, to a surly doctor’s receptionist asking you what the details of your symptoms are, unqualified people interfering in your business, is always really, really irritating. Now even algorithms are at it.

There is no doubt that having a Facebook page for The Shakespeare is very useful in terms of generating business. If we advertise a concert or sporting event, for example, the results are always tangible in terms of people turning up as a direct consequence. However, if we don’t post anything for a couple of weeks, we’ll soon receive a overly chummy message saying something like ‘Your customers haven’t heard from you for a while. Let them know what’s going on.’ Ostensibly in our interests, loosely translated this message actually means ‘Look, buddy, Facebook hasn’t been able to glean any sellable information from you for a while. Pull your socks up - we’re short of a bob or two, don’t you know?’

The entertainment streaming service Netflix takes a similar stance. Only this morning I received an email (remember those?) which went along the lines of ‘Don’t forget to finish that excruciatingly poor series you began. See what happens next.’ Well, Mr. Netflix, I know what precisely happens next - the acting doesn’t get any better, the plot becomes even more absurd and the juvenile producers continue to confuse violence with entertainment. These communications always come from ‘no reply’ addresses which is small wonder; if it weren’t the case, their inboxes would be overloaded with irate responses - ‘I stopped watching that mindless tosh because it really was quite dreadful you pedantic, supercilious buffoons’, probably including a light sprinkling of rather more fruity vocabulary unsuitable for publication here.

Being told what to do by people who have no business doing so, is enough to make your blood boil at the best of times. When it’s a question of machines masquerading as human beings doing the bidding, the whole shebang gets taken to a completely different level.

Actually, I’d like to send Mark Zuckerberg a message regarding all of this, including prominent use of the words ‘alone’, ‘me’ and ‘leave’.

I wonder if he’s on Facebook?