Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Not such a tweetie-pie

I have tried.

I have tweeted.

I have tweeted 39 times in three weeks. And some of them were OK: -

a bad idea to have a sofa in my study. managed to oust one member of the family, and then another came in and sat down.

I asked D if I had any verbal tics. D: “You say 'How very odd,' in situations when you’ve just been proved wrong.” Me? Wrong? How very odd.

in Paris: I have all the French words, I just keep bringing out the wrong one

OH in my kitchen: "TWITTER? It's hard to step into this particular paternoster"

playing the sax with hiccoughs makes for interesting rhythms

OH in my kitchen:"I got no sleep and am feeling irritable. It's got nothing to do with you." "Ah-ha. I thought you might be." "What?What?”

And I have been following a list of people. But apart from @isaach and @wendyverse and @thebeean, (the only family members who tweet) and @jonsnow, @dianeshipley and someone called @greenberg, no-one else’s tweets have held any allure or spark of interest. I have tried different tweeters, but when I scroll down the list of tweets, I feel as though I am stumbling through an undergrowth of verbal brambles.

The majority of tweets I see are either meaningless, or trivial, or linking to items I have no interest in. So where are the people I would be interested in? And how the hell do I find them?

I can see that if all your friends are on Twitter, it must be fun – you can tweet asides about your day, or photos, or interesting links on the net, and you can joke and engage in tweeting banter. But NONE of my friends are on Twitter, so what am I supposed to do?

No. There is no way I can persuade any of them to join. So now I know what you’re going to say – make some new friends who ARE on Twitter – make them THROUGH Twitter – but how?

I have tried to think of famous people I would like to follow – Victoria Wood, Anne Tyler, Helen Dunmore, Garrison Keillor, and a host of others. It appears that they do not use Twitter – at least not publicly.

I do have a tweeting kind of brain – I do think of brief funny things I want to say – but I don’t think there is any future in building up a large following and getting the satisfaction from that. I have 8 followers (3 of these are 3 whom I follow.) Another is someone who tweets in Arabic, which I can’t understand. Why is this person following me? Is it because I tweeted once about Gaza? Another is someone called @dailychekhov, who I assume is following me because I once tweeted a Chekhov quote. If this last guy is waiting for more, he may have to wait for a very long time.

And another thing – why does Twitter want to show the world how many people I am following and how many people are following me? It is so shaming for the world to see that a writer has only 8 followers. The people who might see this have no idea I have only been tweeting for three weeks and have no real-life non-cyber friends on Twitter. They will just think – “God, she’s pathetic.” So play fair, Twitter – don’t show the number of followers for the first year. You should just say “Beginner.”

I will continue to try. I am not an easy quitter. But Twitter at present is offering surprisingly slim pickings for this blogging, slacklining, saxophone-playing 61 year old writer living in the English countryside, away from the hubs of techie and media life, who is utterly uninterested in celebrity gossip and mindless trivia, but who is interested in comedy, wit, reflective insights, writing, books, film, photography, social justice, a just settlement for the Palestinians, current affairs, new developments, flowers, countryside, family and friends. And who is a woman who has an overflowing life away from the internet.

p.s. It isn’t true that I am not interested in mindless trivia – I am interested in mindless trivia I share with friends and family.

p.p.s. ooh, ooh, ooh! I just got another follower and there are 200,000 people following him, so I must be doing something right!

© Sue Hepworth 2011


Marilyn said...

Hi Sue! I may be wrong but I thought the idea was to have fun on Twitter? I've been on it a while and one or two of my followers could do with being deleted but I don't like to do that because there are only 14 of them. One is a television set. (Don't ask!) I am following 16, and one of them is a cat. Some people use it as a professional tool, I know, but I don't and my account is locked so not just anyone can jump on board. Some people use it as a lifeline to the outside world if they can't get out and about easily and I think it's great for that. Some people seem to just want to get as many people onto their account as they can. I always ignore them. You can also join in with re-tweets sometimes. I don't think you should be ashamed to have 8 followers - after all you only joined three weeks ago. Twitter might not be for you but then again, it might. I'm glad you said you're not going to quit just yet - many tweeters are very interested in the same subjects as you - in fact you should receive suggestions of people to follow under the heading 'who to follow/suggestions', so you could try following some of them. You can always unfollow if you don't like them. (How can you resist such a sweet logo? And you have to support your family, surely!)

Sue Hepworth said...

Hi Marilyn, great to hear from you! My post above shows one of my less attractive character traits - impatience. Yes, twitter is supposed to be fun - you're right. I think my frustration lies in hoping to find amusing or thought provoking or clever or insightful one liners, and not finding any.Once I find some tweeters in that genre I will be a happy bunny. I have found one who never disappoints (since I wrote this post) - every tweet he writes is a short story. he is @arjunbasu. There must be more thoughtful tweeters and I shall find them!