Sunday, 4 May 2008


[first posted 29th April]

I'm not convinced by Twitter - at least, not yet.

Part of the problem is the name. It sounds like a parody English village: the short version of Great Twittering in the Dell, perhaps.

And then, the messages are so short. In a mere 140 characters, how can anyone develop a style or convey a sense of character? Yet I'm addicted to Facebook status updates, which are rarely longer. Looking at some of my friends I see that S. "is making a nice cup of tea", K. "is finalising escape plans" T. "is acting suspiciously" while A. "is on the train with the elephants."

So far I haven't found so many friends on Twitter. I'm not sure I've got the hang of it. I know I'm supposed to answer the question "What are you doing?" and see what my friends are doing. One wrote, "What do you think I'm doing? I'm typing in this message in an attempt to avoid working." Another added, " Wondering just how my good friend k has persuaded me to sign up for yet another online thingummy! Blogging! Facebook! Whatever next?"

I've made two mistakes on Twitter. One is the frequency with which I change my mini-message. Yesterday I offered the world a chronicle of the weather and the progress of the washing on the line - mainly its failure to dry. And today I signed up to follow messages from 10 Downing Street.

10 Downing Street messages are dully predictable. Someone has been made a Dame Commander of the British Empire - I don't care enough to find out who it is. A big red bus arrived as part of a Daily Mirror campaign. The PM is urging investment in Iraq - well, he would, wouldn't he - and has been on GMTV pontificating about cannabis.

Meanwhile I learn that 10 Downing Street is following me on Twitter. Apparently they're following 2,276 people - 22 more than are following them. I'm not sure whether to be amused or disturbed. As I commented on Twitter, "
I am being followed by Downing Street, apparently. That's better than being followed by MI5, I suppose. Will Downing Street take notice?"

Soon I'll post a short, innocuous message. I imagine Gordon Brown, his gaze fixed on the computer, avid to know whether my nightshirt will dry before the next hailstorm.

But I see that I and my fellow Twitterers can nudge and send messages to 10 Downing Street, which might be fun. And I begin to see possibilities in Twitter, from sending quick political campaign messages to writing very short poems or six-word stories.

So I'll stay with Twitter for a day or two ... and perhaps longer.

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