Last night I fell out with Twitter.
You see, just because you are following somebody on Twitter, it doesn’t mean that they have to follow you. This one of the good things about Twitter as it as far more informal than the ‘married for life’ world of Facebook. However it can sometimes be incredibly frustrating.

The frustration really peaks when there’s a hash tag run. For the uninitiated these are little moments in the Twitter day when somebody comes up with a subject which people can run with. For instance the brilliant @davidschneider came up with a run called #crapnamesforpubs. This ran all day with people producing more and more amusing rubbish names for pubs. It was great fun but unless you are being followed by the other participants, your funny suggestions disappear into the raging torrents of the Twitter rapids. This is what happened to me last night with another of these runs and I realised that I was talking into a vacuum. I became so frustrated that I uninstalled Tweetdeck and vowed never to go near Twitter again.

Now before you say it – I know that this is utterly ridiculous. After all I’ve stood on a stage and been called all kinds of unsavoury things and not let it bother me but for some peculiar reason, at that particular moment, not being appreciated on Twitter was almost too much to bear. This is so utterly stupid that it beggars belief and thankfully after a good night’s sleep I realised this. However it shows how social networking can get under your skin.

It’s not all bad though.

Being a bit of a mother hen I often find myself worrying about my online chums, even though many of them have never seen my fizzog in real life. This is usually if they are ill or are feeling that their careers aren’t going where they want to be. A few months ago a virtual chum of mine had a medical problem which could have been diagnosed as cancer and if it had would have meant a considerably shortened life. Bearing in mind that I’ve never met this person and only know them through their work and blog, it may seem surprising that I didn’t sleep a wink waiting for them to reveal the results of their tests. Happily the diagnosis was better than expected and they will hopefully have a very long life.

Now if a couple of years ago you would have suggested to me that I could care for people I’ve never met in the same way I care for a close chum, I would have thought you mad. Or at least thought myself insane. In fact I would have imagined myself sitting in a nutty room, papered with photographs of the people with which I had become infatuated, wearing a stained vest and holding a shotgun. Whereas I’m usually in a very nice room, wearing a clean shirt and holding a cup of tea.

This is why it annoys me when yammering heads pop up on my television to inform me that ‘social networking will lead to a lack of connection with our fellow humans’. This is utter bollocks! In fact we are more connected to our fellow man than we’ve ever been. Granted I still like to spend time with my chums down the pub and that experience will never be replaced by the online world, but there are other experienced to be enjoyed online that can’t be had down the pub.

For instance a couple of weeks ago I sat watching the BAFTA television awards and tweeting. Among my fellow tweeters that night was writer, broadcaster and fellow blogger and podcaster* Andrew Collins who’s little asides made the evening far more enjoyable.

It was also intriguing to see tweets coming in from people who were actually at the event. Now I had always believed that the delay between a live event happening and appearing on our screens was around ten minute, to allow for rude word chopping. However I was stunned to see a tweet appear from Graham Linehan declaring that they had won the best sitcom award – when at home we were just seeing the second presentation. It turns out that the ‘live’ broadcast featured a delay of over an hour! There was the clumsiest of edits about half way through, when they cut Graham Norton’s response to Michael McIntyre dieing (in a comedic sense, not actually) on the stage next to him.

Anyway this is all old news but you get the idea. Social networking may be a series of fads but it is well worth getting involved with while it lasts.

Right I feel like sausages and beer, see you later.

Sulky Tosser

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