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  • Twitter, Mon Amour February 25, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite , trackback

    Beachcombing has enjoyable memories of explaining, in the most patronising terms possible, such arcane devices as the joy stick and Chucky Egg to dense parents and he doesn’t like seeing the same thing being done to him. But slowly, painfully, increasingly it is happening. Beach has watched bewildered as aupairs, students and nephews and nieces raced ahead of him in the technology stakes, flashing shiny white things called e-pods, blueberries and apple pads as if they were mobile phones (apparently some are). Email that seemed once the most precious commodity, is being replaced by intimidating new forms of communication including Skype, Twitter and social networking sites that combine holiday photos with pokes and privacy issues.

    Beachcombing must admit to having carried out some acts of reconnaissance. He – coward that he is – set up a My Face Space account in the name of Mrs B, who is now bombarded with messages from ex boyfriends and kids who made her life a misery at nursery school. And Beachcombing approached Twitter with a similarly sceptical mindset. He signed up originally because he wanted to do know just how horrible it was. If you are going to be a reactionary it is important, after all, to have bricks to throw down on the Gramscian intellectuals climbing up to the battlements. But with Twitter it was different. There were no school bullies, no ex-girlfriends (assumed names help here), there was just… bliss.

    As Twitter is enjoyed by only a small percentage of internauts it is surely worth explaining what exactly Twitter is.  Most people who have not hurled themselves into its information avalanche will imagine, as Beach once did, that Twitter is full of Cyber Wilde wannabees. This is a natural enough conclusion because when Twitter is featured in news stories there is Stephen Fry or a cabinet minister tweeting what passes for humour among our masters. Beach was very worried about this (i) because he correctly guessed he wouldn’t be very good in Wildean terms and (ii) because the idea of Stephen Fry on tap for twenty hours a day was just too much to bear (sorry Stephen).

    But the good news is that this is not Twitter or rather it is only a small part. Twitter is best thought of not as a table-full of (nit)wits, but, instead, as a hot molten stream of information. Most individuals do not tweet opinions or cracks or even news, they tweet links to the things that interest them. As the Tweeterer (?) signs up to the people he or she likes – Beach has been experimenting with historians and archaeologists, Euro-sceptics, Italian rock stars and ornithologists – it means you get to choose what lava will go into your stream. It is exhilarating and it gives the (probably illusory) sense that you are close to the pulse of the world.

    Of course, it won’t last, in part, because it is so good. The attraction of Twitter is, to some extent, that it is an alpha male/female elite activity and if the clubhouse is invaded by the monstrous hordes of students, nephews, nieces and aupairs mentioned above the tone will be lowered or, at least, it will change. Well, when that happens Beach is going to hide under the coffee table and use his fish bait catapult. But until then he will just lean back and enjoy the ten or twenty twitter hours he manages to carve out a week.

    Beachcombing welcomes twitter tips and followers and followees: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com