Saturday, 14 February 2009

To twit, or not to twit?

Just like most of the Western world, or so it seems, I have decided to have a look at this Twitter malarkey. Actually, that's not entirely true, I've been on Twitter since August 2007 - practically the Jurassic age - so I can look at all these current adopters with a thousand-yard stare, adopt a random American accent and declare, in the manner of a Vietnam veteran: "You weren't there, man, you know nothing."

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last six months, Twitter is a service that allows people to write short text messages - no more than 140 characters, including the spaces - and share them with the masses. Or in my case, about three people I actually know and a whole bunch of complete strangers who've elected to follow for me for reasons best known to themselves.

I joined it all those months ago, wrote a few messages (I'm sorry, I refuse to call them 'Tweets', that's just silly) and forgot about it, mainly because I knew no-one else on it. It felt a little like Alexander Graham Bell, The Early Years - after all, if you've got a telephone but no-one else has, it's all a little pointless.

Actually, I've just looked back at some of the things I wrote at the time, and it's full of insightful stuff like: "Must avoid making the tea", "Just had some tea", "Watching Jon Stewart on the telly". So I can hardly make out that I've been pushing the boundaries of human experience. Unless the boundaries in question are rather close. And easily pushable.

In recent months, though Twitter has become a Very Big Thing Indeed. People who know nothing about such matters, who couldn't tell a blog from a google from a flickr (what is it with the web and all these daft names - are we all five years old now?) are now aware of Twitter. The first skirmishes in the 'Facebook vs. Twitter' war appear to be getting underway. Which seems a little like comparing apples with pianos, but appears to be par for the course.

Now the celebs are involved. Everyone's favourite dinner companion, Stephen Fry, is on there. The nation's second-best morning DJ is Twittering away, too. The thought of the great and the good, communicating with the rest of us without a layer of PR people, is revolutionary. I even had a personal response from Dave Gorman the other day.

Everyone to whom I mention this news is singularly unimpressed, but I could care less.

I'm plugging away with Twitter for the moment. I'm a little sporadic, to be honest; I'll go days without updating it, then I'll remember and there'll be a burst of activity. A bit like this blog. The 140-character limit forces me to be economical with the verbiage. Completely unlike this blog. And I must admit, there's something I find quite attractive about getting a sneak peak into the minutiae of other people's daily lives. The triumphs, the struggles, the burnt toast. I suspect that says something profound about me. Or else I'm just a nosey bugger.

For more detail, feel free to follow me at

Sorry, couldn't resist.

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