Friday, April 23, 2010

#Nickcleggsfault In praise of Twitter

Around this time last year I belatedly woke up to the fact that all my online contacts seemed to be rabbiting on about something called Twitter. I realised the Famous in the shape of Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross were on it, but I couldn't really see what it would do for me. I was already on Facebook (frankly a part of social networking I've never got to grips with, as it seems pretty infantile to me, though that maybe because I mainly FB with my children), I blog, and according to my husband (who may well be right) I spent far too much time on the internet as it is. So I turned my back on Twitter, as for the same reason I don't update my FB page (why on earth would anyone be interested in me having a cup of tea?), I didn't think it had anything to offer.

I changed my mind when a blogging friend dipped her toe in the twitter water and I was so intrigued by the tweets appearing by the side of her blog, I sort of followed her in. At first I was completely confused, and I still didn't get why people would care what I was up to at any given moment, but I quickly realised that the joy of twitter is that it can go from the absurd to the profound in a matter of moments. The sheer fact of having to put thoughts into a mere 140 characters is a great discipline for any writer, but particularly for one as verbose as me. And to my surprise there was alot less navel gazing, and I'm scratching my bum what are you up to? then I was expecting.

Sure there is some stupidity, and when the occasional twitterstorms (such as the one surrounding Jan Moir's distasteful article about Stephen Gately's death) arise, there can be an element of the nutty mob about it, but in the main, the people I meet on twitter are not only supremely sane, they are witty, sophisticated, wise and fun.

Take, for instance, yesterday. I don't buy the Daily Mail, and hadn't seen the headlines, but gathered quite quickly that the dear old self restrained DM had been gunning for Nick Clegg on the grounds of his Nazi sympathies. Erm? Nick Clegg? A Nazi? What was going on? Within seconds, thanks to a twitter friend, I'd been pointed in the right direction of the offending article that Nick Clegg had written eight years ago. Yes I did say eight. You can find it here. I agree with every word as it happens. I wonder if that makes me a Nazi? Not only that he gleefully pointed out the Mail's own less then glorious Nazi past here. So we engaged on a twitter conversation about all of that, before slipping into less profound topics (as you so easily can on twitter) such as the comparative merits of white asparagus (as eaten in Germany) against green .

It is probably fair to say that the twitterati are not big fans of the DM. So very swiftly a new hashtag appeared #nickcleggsfault and created a trending topic (to those unfamiliar with twitter, people get on the bandwagon with a particular topic and identify it with # - and as a relative twitter newbie I don't think I can explain it much better!) People blamed pretty much everything yesterday on Nick Clegg (me too - the fact that my house is in untidy remains his fault), from running out of houmous to not being able to get any writing done. You've got to even blame the volcano on him. It was a glorious spontaneous response to the anti Nick Clegg crap in the papers (even from people who DON'T support him), which had me hooked to the computer for most of yesterday, and reminded me of just why I love twitter. We may not have much going for us as a country at the moment, but boy do we still have our sense of irony. Today I note the topic is still trending. My favourite comment of the day so far, is Labour is a wasted vote #nickcleggsfault...

As a result of the time spent yesterday on twitter (yes, yes, husband you are right) when I should have been cleaning, I was very late putting the washing out, didn't have time to do the shopping before the school run/swimming lessons and opted to do sainbury's at 7pm. Which is how I found myself unpacking shopping at 8.15, and putting sheets on beds at 8.45 And that I promise you is ALL #nickcleggsfault

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