From now on, when people ask me what I think of Twitter, I’m going to say I think it’s amazing, I mean really genuinely amazing. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, once, I was anything but like this. As anyone who knows me personally will be well aware, I used to be one of those people with an unjustifiably strong aversion to all things Twitter-related; sitting around like some post-apocalyptic grumpy person, moaning that we don’t call each other enough (actually I do think these kind of people have a point). And it definitely wasn’t that I understood what it was all about (I didn’t). To be honest, as recently as a few months ago, I just didn’t get Twitter, and even when people tried to talk me round, I found it hard to believe that I could gain anything much from it.
Twitter, I thought, give me fish chips any day (don’t try and draw any parallels between battered fish and potato — there aren’t any, I just really love fish and chips).
I know, that’s a great attitude from an indie author who relies on word-of-mouth and social networking to sell paperbacks and ebooks (UK, US) of his debut novel (it’s called The Number 3 Mystery book. It’s more or less one big long running joke).
But there it is. Just like I mostly refuse to eat a chocolate bar upside down — it always tastes weird and wrong when you do that, getting the flavours all back-to-front, although from time to time it makes a nice change, especially with the taste sensation that is the legendary, the sumptuous Double Decker — I can be exceedingly stubborn when it comes to networking, too.
(And my fish and chips being the right size portion, too, but that’s enough about fish and chips. It’s not like I’m hopeleselly addicted or anything.)
And now I must prepare myself for the backlash, because as much as I have gained hundreds of new followers recently, I also possess a staunch army of grizzled old-school friends (and school friends) who will stop at nothing — Rambo-style — to spread evil nonsense gossip about Twitter and those who use it.
“It’s a load of crap,” one particular person whose name rhymes with slur might say. “I’ll skin a cat before I go on Twitter.”
I hope he doesn’t have my epiphany.
Another: “I’ll never follow anyone, following is for dummies.”
And another: “Chris, do you actually ever do any work? You always seem to be blogging.”
Actually that one does have a point: I am always blogging (at least right now, it may slow down soon, we’ll see). Especially recently. A lot seems to be going on in the world and what can I say? I like discussing it. Even if only with myself.
More to the point, what these narrow-minded — cue a second backlash, both on and offline — people are missing is so great that the very act of distilling it into this one blog post gives me that annoying feeling you get when you open up a tin of fish and the fish flicks everywhere all over you (will anyone ever sort out that problem?! Seriously, how come I’ve never seen anyone with an invention for that on Dragon’s Den?!).
Here, then, if you’re still reading, are my all time top-10 reasons why Twitter is amazing, splendid, wonderful (even if it makes me nauseating). And if you still want to have a go at me or send me messages pretending to be someone I don’t know with enormous breasts and an alarming fixation with Double Decker’s — you’re hilarious, Steve, really — then please, feel free.
(And if you are Steve then I really do know where you live.)
1) People who use Twitter are often bored. I am often bored and over-worked. This means that often, while I try and get away from work and take advantage of my self-employed status, I’ll look at Tweets. Because many bored people have written them, they often make me laugh.
2) People you don’t know follow you — good, kind, decent people — and send you direct messages and it makes you think I tell you what, that’s the kind of person who, if I had to, if I absolutely had to, I might (maybe) share my chocolate with. But probably not.
3) Enthusiasm: Twitterers, or whatever the hell we are, are raging-hot-missiles of enthusiasm and desire and loves and hates. I think that’s brilliant. Also, when a total stranger on the other side of the earth wishes you well, purely because they have a keyboard and eyes and you have a keyboard and eyes, snap!, there’s something really fantastic about that. This is wonderful when you have just watched Eden Lake and the world seems nothing more than a demented sphere of gone-wrong politics and hoody scum.
4) A different perspective: you may have woken up after a dream where you were wrestling a giant dog which had been cross-bred with a salamander, bright pink like a prawn and vicious as hell (a trait salamanders lack, I think, but bear with me, this is a dream), but then you sign in to Twitter and realise that other people have also had weird dreams! For example, Teddy in New York dreamed of nightmarish utopian visions where everyone looked like Sarah Jessica Parker and could fire lasers from their breasts, no!, and Lisa from London dreamed about Hawaii and how it was actually a dream — you see where this is going… — and all that sand and glorious sunshine? Sorry, it was just a very big practical joke. It makes you feel good to know that yes, other people are also weird as well. And I thought my salamanderdogthing was bizarre…
5) Twitter keeps you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the outside world. Essential when you never actually see it.
6) The world is full of lovely people, kind people, people who do care if you get hit by a bus (they just wouldn’t know it). Don’t you think it’s a shame to never interact with anyone?
7) When people re-tweet you it makes you go Ahhhhhh.
8) When people direct message you to say Thank you for following, and now I promise you eighteen steps to enlightenment and £50,000 by next week! you think: I’m so glad I’m not the only optimist out there.
9) Smiling faces make you smile.
10) When you do eventually go outside, you know more than your friends and, for some people, I tell you, that makes a nice change.
Did you enjoy this post? Well, if you did that pleases me! My disability-related comedy novel, The Number 3 Mystery Book is available in paperback here and from Amazon UK. If you live in the US, you can get it from Amazon US here. Thanks for reading and goodbye.
Want to read another post about this Twitter phenomenon? Then click here to go to Leigh’s blog!