Monday, October 10, 2011

Talk To The Hand ‘Cos My Tweets Ain’t Listening

There was a brief moment back in late 2010, early 2011 when I was a little predisposed to be in love with Twitter. I’d Tweet something every day. Offer it a little sugar. Bestow upon it a little love.

Throw it a bone.

But it felt unrequited. My pebbles disappeared below the surface with barely a ripple. Nobody really responded.

Maybe I wasn’t using big enough pebbles? Maybe my wit was nothing more than granite chips compared to the atmosphere bending meteorites dropped by other Twitter users?

Who knows? I felt that any effort expended on Twitter was like trying to teach a pig to sing. The relationship was never going to be music to my ears and there was frequently too much shit around underfoot.

I didn’t delete my account though. And I realize there is something weak and inconstant about that. I just couldn’t make a clean break. Hell, I thought, I could still use Twitter. Treat it like a Parisian whore and pimp it out when I had something to sell. Another blog post. An ad hoc witticism. A sneery dig at those dolts on The Apprentice. I’ll use it and abuse it and then shove it back into its electronic box.

An unloved tissue.

So it’s a constant surprise to me to learn that I continually pick up new Followers. Every month more and more people elect to Follow me. Some of them I have heard of – fellow bloggers and writers and the like. They’re fine. They’re good. Welcome aboard, chums, just sorry about the disappointing fare I am offering. But most are...

I am at a loss as to how to describe them. A gallimaufry of weirdos? A ragbag of misfits?

Yesterday a Spanish restaurant in Sussex who specializes in Tapas added itself to my Followers list.

Why? Why would they do this? I have never been to Sussex. I have no plans to visit Sussex though I hear it is very nice. I’ve nothing against going but if I did go it would not be to go and eat Tapas. I don’t eat Tapas in my home town. I’m not going to travel a hundred miles to eat it elsewhere just because some faceless catering exec on Twitter is Following me.

And then there are the self-help crowd. There are dozens of them. Tina Sparkle and her Healing Womb Crystals, Warlock Bryan and his soul cleansing runes of Mordor, Russell Grant and his magic flamenco shoes who will help you dance your way to enlightenment and a gestalt therapist’s couch. The kind of people who, if I saw their books on sale in the Health, Mind & Body section at Waterstones, would make me want to heave up all over the hard-backed edition of The Pirelli Calendar 1960’s To The Present Day that I had concealed under my duffle coat.

Plainly they read my bio on Twitter and the first thing they think is: Christ, this guy needs some spiritual help; I will offer my services free of charge in bite-sized 140 character chunks for him to consume throughout his soulless days at the Satanic mill wherein he works.

Now, they might be right in the their analysis. Maybe I do need spiritual help. Maybe I do have too much anger and negativity in my lymphatic system. Maybe my chakras are more blocked than the botoxed pores of Victoria Beckham’s face.

But if I need my soul saving by Twitter then, frankly, I am beyond all hope of ever being saved by anybody and not even some magic crystals basted in the intimate juices of Tina Sparkle are ever going to be able to help me.

Ever.

I am this close to deleting my account.

This close.

But... erm... I wanted to pimp this blog post so, you know, I might do it tomorrow.



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48 comments:

vegemitevix said...

Nooooo don't leave us. We were counting on you to hold up the side of 'those who are nuts but nice', on Twitter.

Steve said...

Vix: you say the sweetest things.... but can we leave my nuts out of this?

Suzanne said...

I cannot began to tell you how many bizarre people/companies follow me on Twitter, but recently someone who is an amazingly talented writer started following me, so I'm sticking with it for a while. Plus it's random and makes me chuckle.

the fly in the web said...

Are all these nutters hawking their wares?
Have they followed the advice I keep seeing to 'get yourself out there' into the social networks to promote your 'product' - whatever that might be?

Hit back!

Promote your unmatchable ability to discern the underlying absurdities of most of the stuff that's shoved at us and place it at the disposition of the 'nuts but nice' twitterers to debunk the 'do it with crystals' squad.

I do not Twitter...had they called it Croak it might have had more chance of capturing my interest.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

Ah Steve, the random oddballs one attracts is one of the plus sides of twitter.

I recall with some fondness the American guy who's bio read: bible loving, gun toting republic who hates Obama. Did I say fondness, maybe I meant fear...

Often I quite like twitter for the same reason that I read the online comments on Daily Mail articles - it makes me feel like I am a relatively decent and normal human being.

Steve said...

Suzanne: funnily enough a very talented artist started following me recently... which I guess proves that in amongst the dross are some people of true quality. Talented writer, you say? Gosh tarnation... no chance they're following me, then.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: Croak? If they'd callled it Fart or Crap or Inane it would at least have been accurate. It just seems to encourage anyone with an opinion to prove it's not worth hearing and anyone without an opinion to think they can air their lack in lieu of having one.

Very Bored in Catalunya: that's a legit reason for staying with Twitter I guess. Kind of like keeping an eye on the neighbourhood nutjob so you know where he is and what he's up to... 'cos if he's busy over there then you at least know he's not rifling through your bins or trying to fish your frontdoor key off your hall shelf with a bent coathanger.

RB said...

I really don't warm to Twitter at all. But I haven't quit either. It is too noisy for me - everyone shouting at each other and no-one listening. Plus I find that even people I know (in Real Life or Online) don't sound anywhere near as nice or interesting on Twitter as they do elsewhere - they are either pimping stuff or trying to sound funny/clever (and generally failing!)so I mostly ignore it. It was fun during election time and occasionally if some news is breaking but that's about it.

EmmaK said...

If, as my husband says, blogging in mental masturbation then twitter is sort of a very quick fumble without any relief ....that's the long and short of it!!

Steve said...

RB: yes, Twitter has it's moments. Like during the UK riots - it kept me more informed than the national news. But for the rest of the time it's just a cacophany of advertising.

Emma: I like that analogy. Blogging is masturbation for the literary minded but Twitter is frottage without a climax.

Marginalia said...

Never been to Sussex, you've never lived.

I don't tweet. It's a generational thing, Steve. I've just got the hang of sending a telegram.

Steve said...

Marginalia: telegram? Is that one of those "idiot box" devices that shows moving pictures?

Martin Lower said...

Don't do Twitter at all. I've never felt the need. Basically, I've nothing of interest to tweet....

Do you really own a duffle coat?

Dicky said...

God Steve, I so hope I'm in with the "gallimaufry of weirdos, ragbag of misfits"?

Steve said...

Martin: no. Not at all. That's how interesting I am.

Dicky: leader of the pack. If you really want to be. I don't think anyone will compete. Actually, I might. Pistols at dawn?

English Rider said...

Your new writing gig seems to be Twitter-Oriented. I enjoyed your post over there but self-edited myself out of the comment I was leaving. I didn't want to tarnish your new reputation before it began. (It was something about the relativity of horse penis v. Little Boy)

Steve said...

English Rider: my reputation is going to get tarnished sooner rather than later... so don't worry. I think I can guess what your comment may have been driving at anyway...! ;-)

Gorilla Bananas said...

They read your bio on Twitter and think "Beta male - let's lay an egg in his nest." You may as well sit on them until they hatch.

The Sagittarian said...

You have a duffel coat? Gaaaaaah!! I bet you live near a park...

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: not when it's the bloody Midwich cuckoos, I'm not.

Amanda: to be honest, I virtually live in the park.

Joke.

And I honestly don't own a duffle coat. Or bicycle clips. Or sock suspenders.

Kelloggsville said...

I use twitter for work, its a good way to reach out widely for help, useful for finding people who can help. I also like it when watching TV for instant feed back and feeling part of a crowd. I think it has it's place. In terms of a friendship circle and receiving personal feed back etc, it often seems like a round of blog pushing oneupmanship, not something I have been able to absorb myself into with any satisfaction.

Jenny Woolf said...

Jeez you surely should be able to say something that will blow the socks off every one of them. :)

Liked the post, made me laugh. It also echoes my own experience, although the lady with the crystals has passed me by so far.

Being Me said...

I have just one question: What the bloody hell is Tina Sparkles doing to her crystals if they are basting in her intimate juices?? My crystals aren't basted in anything of the sort. I guess if I have to ask, I'm doing it wrong.

No wait, I do have one more question... Why can't you just whittle it down to the people you really want to follow? Or is it a case of not knowing why Twitter? (Nothing else, just.... Why, Twitter? Why?) If it's the latter, perhaps you need to expand and follow more people - sometimes Twitter is excellent. Most of the time, it is a banal waste of time. It would be far less so - to me, selfishly - if you used it more often! (And surely all your blog readers who are on Twitter would welcome your regular wit.... as in, posting your wit regularly, not as in your wit is 'regular'. Oh that hole I'm digging just gets deeper every time I post a comment here)

John Gray said...

twitter to me is like facebook

a waste f f*cking time

hey ho

Owen said...

What is Twitter ?

TimeWarden said...

Twitter's never grabbed my attention, or Facebook come to that... and MySpace holds no appeal... but that's probably because I've no interest in social networking, which seems to be about courting popularity.

I'm not sure why I blog either, to be honest. I think it's because I used to enjoy drawing comics as a child! But it's possibly one of the more creative outlets on the internet... as far as these things go!

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: feeling part of a crowd? I think maybe that's my problem... I feel very ambivalent about being part of a crowd. Or maybe any given crowd feels ambivalent about counting me among their number? I suspect the latter.

Jenny: I made the lady with the crystals up. Although now I'm thinking I ought to pose as her and see how many Followers I could get.

Being Me: your cystals are fine. You are doing the right way. Probably the only person who is. And you've probably hinted at the nail that needs to be hit on the head: the main problem with Twitter for me is... me. I think I am just too miserable and miserly to give it the energy it needs to make it work for me. Just shoot me in the head and leave me by the Twitter roadside. Honestly. It's for the best.

John: succint and to the point. That would have made a most excellent Tweet.

Owen: the inane chirping of featherbrains.

TimeWarden: courting popularity. Yes. I think that underlies my problem with it too. It feels too much like... hard sell. Like a form of self prostitution. And yet I do pimp my blog posts... I just don't like the thought of pimping the rest of my life to anybody that cares to read it. I'm just a gallimaufry of paradoxes and hypocrises.

Being Me said...

"Just shoot me in the head and leave me by the Twitter roadside. Honestly. It's for the best."

Putting the screens up now, old champ. Ah but you were a fine mare. Uh-I-mean... gelding. No! Stallion. Sorry. I get my equine metaphors wrong. All the time.

Steve said...

Being Me: I love that you said stallion when you could so easily have said donkey, mule, burro or even ass.

You're a true friend. You may continue to follow me on Twitter.

Jon said...

I registered a Twitter account, but could never bring myself to tweet.

It just felt futile.

But, like you, I have accumulated a following, some clearly on the spam gig; others under the misapprehension that I am someone far better known with whom I share a name.

He doesn't want a twitter account, so I can't even sell it to him. I'll just leave it clogging up cyberspace, I think.

Steve said...

Jon: maybe pose as the person people think you are and send out randomly bizarre Tweets? Hold on a minute, that's what most people do anyway...!

Trish @ Mum's Gone To ... said...

I find I'm often a twitter-voyeur: I see people having spats and follow the thread back for entertainment value. But then when I do engage in some Tweet-banter I actually quite enjoy it. You just need to dive in.

Professionally it's quite useful too. I was asked to review a book recently. When I had done so, I tweeted the author and publisher to let them know it was on the blog and they have both replied. I now have another book from said publisher to review.

I've also started following useful Twitter accounts on the travel front too as you never know where things can lead. Plus it was a response to a tweet that got me the paid advert opportunity.

(Bugger, this isn't exactly a witty comment is it?)

Keith said...

I suspect Twitter would be my ruination. I loose so much time to this ethereal ( and yet permenant ) nonsense anyway. Blogging and e-mails, and angry birds, and virtual farms, and I could go on. I am too easily distracted from the important things by these digital gee-gaws as it is. So no tweets for me.

Oh and one thing Steve... "unloved tissue" ? You mean to tell me you have a loved tissue ? Eugh, even as I write that the mental images flood in.

Unless of course you mean you have some specific fibrous muscular tissue you are overly fond of.. oh no, no, I'm back to those metal images again.

Viva the followers

Nana Go-Go said...

I`m just surprised you mention Russell Grant and Gestalt in the same sentence!

Steve said...

Trish: not witty, no, but a just and balanced defense of Twitter. Maybe I've been too hard on the old girl? Blamed her for my own shortcomings?

Keith: all tissue should be loved - man-sized and man-made. Except for Izal. Izal can never be loved.

Nana Go-Go: my counsellor does it all the time. At every session in fact.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Tweeting? The Secret Garden is full of it... Blackbirds, fantails, kingfishers and I've noticed that the sparrows have returned from Earthquake Leave.

Hey, well done with the paid blogging. I noticed that you put into practice, what you've discovered along the way by using, in the very first sentence, a word to pull in the hits. Keep it up ;-)

broken biro said...

Hmmm. I dip in now and then and sometimes by responding to something or bleating a little cry for help/moral support I have had a heart-warming little exchange with a stranger... hang on... let me rephrase that...

Steve said...

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: keep it up? Very good! ;-)

Broken Biro: no worries. Some of my best friends are strangers. Erm. Or do I mean strange?

Nota Bene said...

Can you just slip me the details of that Tapas bar when you can....and the spiritual healers. They're for a friend. Yes, a friend. Really.

Steve said...

Nota Bene: with friends like you I'm not sure your friend needs any enemies.

Owen said...

Hey Steve, this has nothing to do with anything, not even necessary to publish this, unless it could be of interest to others here, but someone just sent me this link, because they know I like old VWs and the music in it, and I wanted to forward to you as I know you like Lego...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xn4VMCEB3A&feature=player_embedded

Steve said...

Owen: yes, I had advance notice of this set some time ago from people in the know. Amazing, isn't it? And people think that Lego isn't cool? Ha!

Löst Jimmy said...

Every Pimp needs his tools, so keep that account open...

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: damn right. Twitter is my bitch and she better never forget it!

Rol said...

They follow you because they want following back. That's the only reason I'm following you. Who are you again?

Steve said...

Rol: very funny. And stop trying to sell me nude crystal healing sessions.

Livi said...

ROFL! Don't leave! I find with twitter you get what you give, if you only tweet once or twice then your tweets are drowned out by the addicts *ahem*...
Of course that could be too much work! But I, for one, would miss your amusing thoughts!

Steve said...

Livi: you are immensely kind and it is for you alone that I have not deleted my Twitter account. Ahem. At least, that is what I shall tell people if they ask anyway. ;-)