Home > social networks, Twitter > What has Twitter ever done for me?

What has Twitter ever done for me?

Once a week I am faced with a genuine dilemma caused by the Twitter institution of Follow Friday (#FF). Fellow Twitterers, Tweeters, Tweeple, Twits, call us what you will, will know of what I speak. Under the ‘rules’ of #FF one tweets the usernames of of other users that one deems follow worthy, as it were. This is done in order to bring them to the attention of your own followers in the promise that knowledge, humour, insight, debate, silliness, mild flirtation, and other such bounties will be theirs if they also choose to follow the recommendees.

My problem is that since taking up Twitter seriously I have come across many such people who do, to my mind, provide these things, never mind the people I already knew who did so and continue to do so.

Being a chap of varied interests I now follow over 460 Twitter accounts – many of these I would have picked up due to their being the ‘official’ outlet for my interests in music, comedy, politics, football etc., and of course there are the friends and people I know who I would naturally link up with on a social network. In addition to this, however, I have also followed, and in some cases, befriended (in a cyber sense) a large number of lovely people/organisations that I would not have known of had it not been for the various links, retweets, and indeed, #FF recommendations that have come my way. These may be friends of friends, people with a shared interest, or even people that have seen one of my own tweets retweeted. There are also, of course, the spammers, whom I assiduously block and report for spam – only today I blocked two new ‘followers’, one Islamic organisation and one Jewish organisation both of whom I can only assume had picked up on a tweet of mine yesterday. Both were spammers and as such had to go, even though my number of followers might be triple what it is if I did not pursue such a rigorous policy. But I’m not in it for the glory.

I’m quite a political (superfurry) animal and so a lot of the new contacts I have picked up are concerned with that sphere, in particular the growing and varied campaigns against the destruction of the public sector in this country and attempting to hold to account those responsible; the ongoing fight against such lunatic fringe groups as the BNP and EDL; and more recently people and groups reporting on the popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East (as I typed that, classic electro track ‘Egypt Egypt’ by The Egyptian Lover came on shuffle on my media player – spooky!). Through these contacts I have come across a huge amount of information delivered to my fingertips, information I otherwise may not have been aware of and which has increased my knowledge of, and in some cases participation in, the panoply of campaigns and political events going on around us. It has been said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Well, balls to that, I want to know what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what I may be able to do about it – to that end Twitter is an invaluable resource for me.

And then there are those who I have linked up with due to shared cultural interests. For instance, you may not have guessed, but I’m rather a fan of Super Furry Animals (otherwise known as the best band in the world, yes, that’s what I said, big whoop – wanna fight about it?), and due to this have forged cyber friendships with a number of fellow furry travellers which go beyond the mutual adoration of Gruff Rhys (God) and into other aspects of life as well, such as mutual hatred of Mumford & Sons (the antichrist). Due to one of these new friends I even got to see God (Gruff Rhys) performing at a TV recording last month – thank you so much, Claire. Comedy also brings people together and I have hooked up with fellow lovers of what makes the world a slightly easier place to live in, that being laughter.

Those who read my last blog will know that, as Alan Partridge once did, I suffer from being clinically sad. I said in that blog that the internet is a lifeline for me at times, and Twitter is the epitome of this. When I feel unable to cope with going out and dealing with ‘people’ (or bastard coated bastards filled with bastards, as Bob Kelso MD once said), I can log on to Twitter and other places and stay in touch with friends and what’s going on in the world. I am allowed to express myself at a safe distance. In the case of my last blog, I received many kind words from people who read it, and that helps, you know?

So now we come back to the dilemma I mentioned at the top of this piece: Follow Friday. Perhaps I take it too seriously, but I find myself, for want of a better word, indebted to those I follow for the information, laughs, insight and friendship they provide, and so feel that singling out a few for attention is somehow shortchanging everyone else. To this end, I use the caveat “See my lists and follow the people on them”, and I mean it. I could just list all 460+ I follow, but I’m too lazy and people would be too bored. Hell, my lists are even categorised to make it easier, so, erm, yeah. This dilemma, though, is a small price to pay for what I’ve gained. Twitter may not have built any aqueducts or sorted out the sanitation, but what it has done is provided a conduit for a new flow of knowledge and, in some cases, friendships. Follow that.

(Geddit? “Follow that”! Eh? Eh? Sod yer, I’ll get me coat…)

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  1. March 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Mate, been reading your posts. I was diagnosed about 13 years ago after a similar episode by the sounds of it, horrible experience. I’ve been on medication ever since and don’t look like stopping. It’s a daily battle but I’m winning at the moment! I can relate to everything you write. I was two years below Guto Price from SFA in primary and high school, small world. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    • March 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      Cheers, fella – I have a friend on Twitter who wants to marry Guto! Good luck to you as well, and keep on keeping on. 🙂

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