Saturday, 21 February 2015

Twitter, twitter...tweet

and tweet again. Re-tweet (RT) and modify a tweet (MT) and...well on it goes. 
Twitter is, for anyone who doesn't know it, that site where you can connect with all sorts of people by "following" them. Some of them will follow you back. The rich and famous probably won't follow you unless you happen to know them personally. It is also possible that others won't follow you either - and that you won't follow everyone who follows you. Politicians abound on Twitter. The Pope tweets - in Latin as well as other languages. Tweets can come from anywhere and in almost any language but, unless you follow the account or something is re-tweeted (passed on) then you will only see a tiny fraction of the messages sent out every minute of the day and night. 

All of the action goes on in messages of 140 characters or less. People talk, inevitably, about the weather. They talk about driving conditions, gardening, work, food and drink, television, films, books, clothes, holidays, weddings, funerals, people in the news, climate change, earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters. Almost anything else you can think of gets a mention at some point. 
But what is the point of Twitter? Some people see no point but just recently someone tweeted and asked her fellow knitters if they could remember the name of a pattern. "Clapotis?" I tweeted back. Yes, that was it. She went ahead and found the pattern. Someone else wanted some suggestions for reading while she feeling ill. People made a wide variety of suggestions. She chose one. A male tweeted asking if anyone had any of the Duplo version of Lego for sale. Had he tried the charity shops in his area? No, but he would.  And had anyone seen the new puncture free bicycle tyres? There's rhubarb brack available for a short time from a certain baker....someone has a scholarship or a book coming out or lost their cricket match or is running a marathon for charity. There are research projects going on and requests for people to help - and even research projects about how Twitter is used, especially for people with multiple sclerosis and motor neuron disease and cerebral palsy. 
And Twitter can keep you up with the news. It helps to be "following" the right sort of accounts but even without that there will be others who will "RT" a news item. 
Of course, like anything else, there are people who abuse it. They use it to send messages that are inappropriate, vile and hate filled. They will hound people who mean no harm at all but may hold a different point of view. There are newspaper columnists who will try to belittle anyone who dares to question their research. There are "fake" accounts designed to embarrass the person they "represent" and others which are purely for publicity. Unknown people will challenge you.
Oh yes, be careful of what you say on Twitter because the most innocuous of comments will upset those with strongly held political, social or religious views. It's too easy to rapidly type in such a short response and press the send button.
But, for all that, Twitter can be fun. I have "met" some very interesting people there. I may never meet them in real life but, for someone who works at home, they are my office work mates and most of them are great fun to be with.


Miriam Drori said...


Philip C James said...

Sounds interesting. Must give it a try....

catdownunder said...

Ah, give it a try Philip - Miriam and I will look after you there! :)