I “heart” Twitter

February 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

Yesterday was hectic. I forgot it was Wednesday, and more importantly, I forgot that it was blogging day. And so here I am, a day late and a dollar short, as they say in the classics. You’ll forgive me, I hope.

If you look to the bottom right of this post, you’ll see that my Twitter feed runs on this page. And you’ll get the impression that I talk a lot. Well, I do – any of my friends will attest to that. I love to have conversations with people; get inside their heads a little and find out what makes them tick – it’s one of the reasons journalism works so well for me, because I’m always having to extract information out of people by talking to them.

I’ve got quite good at it, which helps professionally, but can be a disaster in social situations. I’ve had complete strangers pour their hearts out to me and tell me their most intimate stories, which can be rather awkward…

Anyway, back to Twitter. It really suits me, because any time of day or night, I can open up Twitter and talk to someone – somewhere in the world, someone is awake and tweeting, and in most cases, will talk to you if you tweet at them. And yes, I am a little addicted.

Twitter is also full of outrage at perceived injustice, lonely hearts, upbeat motivational types, punsters, cynics – it’s the most fascinating place, populated with every kind of person you could ever imagine (not to mention a few you couldn’t imagine in a million years). People wear their hearts on their sleeves, or they are more cryptic. I’ve read more news reports, blogs and columns than I ever did before I was on Twitter, and I’ve learnt a helluva lot about the finer points of grammar and language use by connecting with world experts in those fields. And – best of all – there’s none of the friendship drama that Facebook brings. If you don’t like someone, you simply unfollow them, and you don’t have to explain yourself.

And there are also some truly golden moments. Towards the end of last year my daughter had to have surgery – her first – and I, the ever-overanxious mother, was in quite a state. I didn’t want to go down the passage to the waiting room and engage with the other worried people in there. Instead, while she was in theatre, I sat on the floor in the foyer outside the operating theatre, and logged on to Twitter while I waited. I needed the distraction, and tweeted to that effect.

In response, the lovely Sam Wilson (@SamWilson1) called on her followers to send me their lamest jokes, which was enough to make me smile. And then the jokes came pouring in. It was unbelievable. I sat on that shiny hospital floor, hunched over my phone, cackling away to myself instead of worrying my way to a gastric ulcer. And after a couple of hours, when my phone battery was almost dead, my daughter came out of theatre, right as rain.

I am still incredibly grateful to Sam and all of those lovely people. Tweeting a joke to cheer someone up might take a small effort, but it made a big difference to me. And I’ve seen similar gestures of support happen on Twitter many times. And while there are plenty of people on Twitter – and in the world in general – who are bigoted and unsympathetic and generally nasty – there are some really good people out there. And they’re funny and generous and kind as well.

So I won’t apologise for my Twitter addiction. The next time you see me hunched over my phone in the school carpark or in a coffee shop, don’t roll your eyes. I’m talking to some of my friends, and having a good time doing it.

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§ One Response to I “heart” Twitter

  • charliesbird says:

    I was a bit weary when I started out in the twitterverse, but now really enjoy most of what I see… there are some things that happen there that don’t sit comfortably, but because I am largely unengaged, they don’t worry me too much. I must say, twitter has turned me into even more of a news junkie than ever before!

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