Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Twitterer Twitters

Like Jeff, I've finally given in and set up a Twitter account. Not to get down wiv da kidz or any of that rubbish – just simply because it's caught up with me as something that it might be fun to try out.

My uptake of social networking stuff has sometimes been slow, but always deliberate and definite when it's happened. I never saw the point of IM and still don't, even though the program probably still lurks somewhere on my computer. It's like an unimportant email, except carrying with it the impertinent expectation of an immediate reply else you convey the impression that you're ignoring the person who has just intruded into whatever it was you were doing. If it's a short message you want to pass on immediately, send a text. If you want a chat, why not just pick up the phone?

Texting I got from the off, having harumphed for a year or more previously that my pager was expensive to use and wouldn't let me reply similarly. Consequently, I was texting away as early as 1995 when it was still very much a minority sport - with instructions for use buried away at the back of your phone manual. You couldn't even send texts between UK networks to begin with, unless you surreptitiously used an overseas message centre. When Vodafone put a stop even to that for a time in 1996, I remember being told on complaining that 'there was no demand' to send texts between networks. Hmmm... they caught on in the end, though.

'Friends Reunited' I signed up for right away, but got bored with very quickly. It was like a virtual school reunion, sparing you the horror of ever actually having to attend one yourself. All it needed was a checklist of whether you were married, had kids, your job title and income bracket, the car you were driving and holidays planned, and you could be reinforced as a success or crushed as a failure from the comfort of your own home. Job done, but not worth more than a log in or two a year at most.

It's the personal recommendations that counted most to me when it came to social networking proper, which is where Twitter comes in, after getting a gentle nudge from a friend in the comments a few posts ago. I still don't really get it, except at the level of a Facebook status update, or for a short blast about something newsworthy. If you're Iain Dale, it lets you advertise your latest meeja appearance, although whether anyone would hang similarly for details of my next appearance on Original 106 news is perhaps debatable. Using it as a feed to tell people about your latest blogpost I don't really get – mainly because I always just go to the blogs I'm interested in anyway so if I see the post being advertised in a tweet, I've probably already seen it, or would have seen it anyway. As for using it as a news wire, we shall have to see. I think I'll still be relying on my radio and the BBC News site for some time to come.

So, despite a lingering suspicion that the past participle of tweeting would be post-watershed, I now do so, adding to the relentless electro-chatter of trivia being fired around the globe. I've even done the obligatory following of Stephen Fry although scandalously, he's thus far declined to reciprocate. I've no idea if it will be of any interest to others, but it costs nothing – let's see how it goes.

10 comments:

subrosa said...

Welcome Richard. There was some survey very recently about social networking and Twitter came out top in the 'more mature' age group. Useless information I know.

It's rather interesting for breaking news and also Stephen Fry's photos.

Bill said...

I think Twitter is one of the great 'finds'. I think people over a certain age (which I certainly am!) never got the hang, or point, of texting. Twitter is different - although I mainly update Twitter via the web, I've also been known to do updates via text - the first time I've ever found that medium useful. God knows what it must be like being Stephen Fry though, Twitter-wise - I find it difficult enough to keep up with the relatively few people I follow. The one thing I'm quite proud of, though, in the light of events of recent days, is that although I was linked briefly by the infamous D Draper and linked back out of courtesy, that lasted only a few days before I delinked him in disgust.

I've had a number of new and interesting contacts through Twitter though I probably ould never have got any other way - to me it therefore has value.

Good luck as a Twitterer!

Richard Thomson said...

Thank you both. I'm still getting to grips with it and while I understand the @subrosa stuff, all the rest of the insider lingo like hash marks and posts prefixed by 'RT' - they can't all be about me, surely? ;-) - is a bit of a mystery right now.

The strangest one for me so far was being 'followed' by a couple of random punters, even before I'd put up a scrap of information or made my first tweet. They've disappeared now, so whether they were 'doing a Draper' to drive up stats goodness only knows.

You're a more curious man than me Bill by having any sort of connection, however ephemeral and short-lived, to Mr Draper! He used to scribe a column bylined 'inside the mind of New Labour' c. 1997 for the Express. It was smug, incoherent and truly execrable. In fact, it later emerged that he used to submit his copy to Mandelson first for approval.

The closest I've come to him was last October which was when I was last down south for work, when he dived in my taxi outside Parliament almost before I'd finished paying the driver. He's not an individual I have any desire to know anything more about or indeed hear from again concerning any subject.

I suspect that a career in reality TV beckons, since what remains of his contact book is likely to become obsolete in the next year or so anyway...

Jeff said...

Just incase you are wondering Richard, I am still finding it all terribly bizarre so far.

Hash tags? Haven't a scooby. All this @ business? Still don't understand it.

I fear I may be backpedalling out of it mouthing a silent 'sorry for interrupting' if I don't sharpen up pronto...

Richard Thomson said...

Jeff - the @business is to allow you to respond directly to someone, and it pops up as a personal message, as I'll demonstrate in a minute :-)

Now I think about it, Plaid Cymru had a couple of Twitterers at their conference, who included something like #plaidconf in each relevant tweet. It must be a way of helping people to identify tweets related to a specific subject or event.

Advanced Media Watch said...

I used to post on Twitter but i found it a bit erm how do i put it ? Rubbish. Honestly i was reading stuff like, " The dog just barked " " My milk is off " etc, i dont get it ? Facebook/bebo/myspace is probably more to my liking but twitter,hmm no its not for me, sorry.

Advanced Media Watch said...

BTW a wee tip Richard, before you accept someone to following you on Twitter, check out who they are because loads of the followers are spam, ie companies selling products. Before you know it you will be reading adverts and not tweets from other people.

Richard Havers said...

I've been on twitter for quite a while, but I've only ever tweeted once. I always seem to be too busy living. That's not to say I object or pass judgement on anyone who does. Who knows I might twitter in future. . .

Richard Havers said...

Beware not to twitter like Patrick Harvie who has not only made himself look stupid, doing it while dining, but some of his other comments are down right pathetic. To think we pay him to be an MSP...I guess that's what happens in a democracy!

Richard Thomson said...

AMW & Richard - sound advice. Thanks very much.