A chatbot farewell


Saying goodbye (to my horse). Image by RoyBuri, www.pixabay.com. Thanks to free image websites and friends who helped out with photos over the years.

Since this is now the way of the world, I decided to Google myself and ask ChatGPT to write a blog in the style of bobwords.com.au. The topic – ‘saying goodbye’. The following (in italics) was generated in 11 seconds.

Hey there, lovely readers of BobWords.com.au! Today, we’re delving into a topic that resonates with all of us at some point in our lives: saying goodbye. Life is an ever-changing journey filled with moments of joy, growth, and, of course, farewells. As we navigate these bittersweet moments, let’s explore how we can make goodbyes meaningful and even transformative.(Ed: making vomiting noises)

Life is like a river, constantly flowing and evolving. Just as we welcome new beginnings, we must also bid adieu to chapters that have run their course. Goodbyes mark the end of one era and the beginning of another, bringing change and growth into our lives. Embracing this natural cycle can help us move forward with grace and an open heart.

Goodbyes give us the opportunity to reflect on the beautiful moments and experiences that we’ve shared. As we bid farewell, we can take a moment to savor (sic) the memories we’ve created. These cherished moments become the threads that weave the tapestry of our lives, reminding us of the laughter, love, and connections that have enriched our journey.

Saying goodbye isn’t just about closing a chapter; it’s also about finding closure within ourselves. Every goodbye opens the door to a world of new opportunities… (I cut it off here, because I was beginning to yawn. Ed)

Now I’m starting to worry about the 7 million blogs which are published every week. I wonder how many of those writers will succumb to this techno-rubbish because it is fast, free and easy? Well, so far it is free.

As The Guardian recently discovered, Rupert Murdoch’s news empire has been publishing up to 1200 stories a week confected by ChatGPT.

A Nick Cave fan asked ChatGPT to write a song in the style of Nick Cave which he then sent to Nick who responded in his inimitable way.

For my money, nothing will ever beat Cave’s imagery: ‘my piano crouched in the corner of my room. With all its teeth bared. proof that technology cannot better creative genius.

I started Friday on My Mind to address what I saw at the time as one of the  shortcomings of traditional media. It was more about what they were not reporting rather than the slant put on things they dId report. Unlike most bloggers, I started with an email list which grew and grew and spent little time fine-tuning the website so I’d be ‘discovered’. It was quite some time before I even realised I should be attending to SEO (search engine optimisation), shorthand for writing in such a way that Mr Google’s bots can find (and rank) your blog. Consequently, you will find that blogs written with SEO in mind will be peppered with ‘keywords,’ cynically deployed to help lift your offerings higher in the google rankings.

Social media and the 24/7 news cycle has changed the relevancy of blogs like mine. What might have been a breaking story on Tuesday (when I sometimes come up with an idea), is old hat by Friday. Much of the time I have picked random topics which may or may not be in the news cycle. Probably because I have been writing since the early 1980s, my ‘news sense’ is still intact and the random offering at times becomes accidently relevant.

There has also been an emerging coterie of media commentators who like the luxury of expanding online on a topic. As they do it for a living, you can find their utterances on most social media platforms. I noticed about a year ago the redoubtable Hugh Lunn started publishing highlights of his journalism career on Substack.

Last week I said Sayonara to Twitter/X after first downloading my data. I only opened a Twitter account because people assured me that is how people would find my blog (1200 words? TMTR (to much to read, for those born last century and/or who may not be familiar with this acronym. Ed)).

The most exciting things that happened to me on Twitter was a veteran songwriter proclaimed to his followers: “Hey people, bobwords48 is Bob Wilson, who wrote Underneath the Story Bridge.” Unlike my approach to shutting down this weekly offering, I left no trail on X (depicted on social media as a burning  cross), for anyone to find me. The digital spring clean is ongoing.

My sister explained to me at our last meeting that as we age our world becomes smaller, and in many ways that is a desirable thing. Why have four email accounts when you only need one? Why have an Ebay account when you haven’t bought anything for two years?

I can hear John from Melbourne in my ear – ‘Bob, you’re waffling’.

As this is my fond farewell from this particular platform, may I thank you all for the many kind words arriving by email. I will answer them all over time. I was happily surprised to find messages from readers who have not once responded to any one column but claim to have read it every week ‘with dedication’.

As for the writing – I was helped from time to time by contributions from guests including Laurel Wilson, Norm Boniface, Phil Dickie and Lyn NuttalI. Sometimes FOMM even unearthed a real news story. In July 2017 while on a caravan trip out west, I discovered the re-emergence of prickly pear. I wrote about this infamous imported noxious weed, which we all assumed had been eradicated. Not so, and after posting this, mainstream outlets (Landline, Queensland Country Life) started picking up the story.

I was reminded about this recently when writing about the wind farm being built outside Warwick. Among the many tasks facing Acciona, the wind farm developer, 37,600 prickly pears were ‘successfully treated” as part of a weed removal project on 33,000 hectare sheep station it has leased for its 187-turbine wind farm.

“Oh yeh, it’s coming back,” my brother-in-law confirmed, on discovering several bushes/trees on his acre of land at Yangan outside Warwick.

There are some amusing pieces of writing in the FOMM archive and also a few serious ones that reflect on depression and suicide, homelessness, refugees and the climate crisis.

For those of you who received this in an email delivered by Mail Chimp, don’t forget you can revisit past FOMMs by going to the website www.bobwords.com.au and searching through nine years’ worth of archives. I have been re-reading a few, especially from our around-Australia jaunt in 2014.

I have readers in the UK, Canada, the US, China, Ireland, New Zealand,  Singapore and Hong Kong (expat journos missing home). Among the most popular columns was an obit I wrote for Gough Whitlam and a rant about shutting down my private post box. If you are feeling bereft next Friday, go and choose one at random. The index app is very good – try  the keywords Anzac, PO Box, Whitlam, Nullarbor, Killjoy and King for a Day to get started. Just a few I was pleased with for their wit and wisdom, even if WordPress kept nagging me to ‘improve your readability score’.

In closing, Narelle Chatbot would like to add:

So, dear readers, here’s to embracing life’s bittersweet moments, to cherishing the memories we’ve made, and to welcoming the unknown with open arms. Until next time, take care and keep embracing the journey! (Ed:…


In a week or two we expect to emerge from the studio with a timely song which I would like to share with FOMM readers.

And it’s ‘good night’ from him, and it’s ‘good night’ from her…

Bob and Laurel

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September 1, 2023 2:48 pm

Interesting style that the chat AI selected. I would not recognise it as your style – however, the subject may not be your style of subject! 😉

Ian Dearden
Ian Dearden
September 1, 2023 4:35 pm

Bob, I am, as always, one of your silent readers!! I have enjoyed the weekly column enormously, but I understand that you have reached a point where you want to be unshackled from it!!
Your contributions have been thoughtful, positive, beautifully written (thanks Ed.) and a joy to read.
Enjoy more songwriting and the leisure opportunities of retirement!!
Ian D

Simon Wells
Simon Wells
September 1, 2023 7:43 pm

What do you mean “technorubbish” ?!!
I thought the AI article was an improvement. 😉

This is bad news for us yr readers. We rely on your wit and sharp observation.

No ! No !.
O woe ! O nay !
Such calam’tous day