It's been a long time since I have jumped on a passing bandwagon. And not just that, I have embraced Twitter with gusto and even bored my friends to death championing it.
I have never been a social networker and hate the very thought of faceless chat rooms. I didn't really use my natty MacBook for much more than selling a few CD's on ebay and writing essays for university.
When Stephen Fry, the archdeacon of Twitter started to bleat on about it I actually sat up and took notice. It's Stephen after all. I have sat up and followed his career since the mid eighties when I understood very little of what he said and laughed mainly at his use of the word Cuntyblast. I know Pip Schofield is also a Twitterer but I stopped following him when he left the broom cupboard. he held little cultural capital for me once he dropped the gopher.
So I gingerly dipped my toe in the sea of Twitter and found the site to be uncomplicated and very take it or leave it. I have mostly taken it. The simplicity and unadulterated, dare I say it, fun, of Twitter is immediate and charming. It has little of the vitriol found in chatrooms and if you choose who you follow carefully enough, you are usually guaranteed a chuckle a day.
There really are some very amusing 'ordinary' people out there. I don't think it's any coincidence that top writers and journalists use the site. the pithy one-liners they can pilfer for their jottings or sitcoms are endless. The fact that the comments usually have no surrounding context leaves the reader with a laugh and a lot left to his or her own imagination.
On the more academic and serious sides, Twitter has become a networking tool, linking me to media types as well as newspaper websites updating me on the breaking news. But we can get so much more than what the big guns want us to count as stories. We have a new method of providing the news and creating an agenda. twitter is even becoming a news story in itself which is like them watching us watching me watching you watching them and so on.
In a nutshell, as I keep telling the non-believers, it is what you make it. you 'follow' who you want to follow and the experience can be a very rewarding one. It is a glimpse into the future of journalism in a way as newspapers struggle for air, people turn to the net and create their own news agenda by picking and choosing from a wealth of information and tailoring it to their day-to-day needs.
You don't have to follow the celebrities, you don't need to know what Will Carling ate after his bike-ride, but it can break up the Twitterverse you create and provide a welcome distraction before you dive in once more to glean the gen you want, when you want.