Believe it or not there was life before Twitter… just not much… and not really…
Several years ago now I signed up for my first Twitter account. Like so many people I wasn’t really sure what Twitter was about or how or why I should use it, and over a period of a few years I did very little with it that elicited much response, and getting followers was a slow process, as was deciding who to follow. But I stuck at it. Eventually I started using it more for my work, and that is when things took off. Interactions became more meaningful, as I was now following people with a common interest, or with several common interests. Tweets flew thick and fast for several months, friends were made, and much was shared with a great many people, all of whom are smart, funny, and generous is so many ways (It becomes apparent after a short while on Twitter that if you do it openly and genuinely you connect quickly and easily with people you simply ‘get’ on some level. You also get good at filtering out those accounts that you are not interested in at all. It’s a knack, and I would say it’s more intuitive than anything).
A certain aspect of tweeting started to really appeal to me, and which I began doing purely for my own entertainment, and it may be connected to the same reasons I have for enjoying both reading and writing poetry. There is something about the condensing of things to their most basic components that I find fascinating. I am interested in both what is being said and with the process of crystallising it. Sometimes it is to get at the absolute core meaning of something, and sometimes it is just for fun, but also it is the challenge, for there are rules: Tweets ideally must use no text speak or abbreviations, and should have all the correct punctuation marks and spacing etc. As there is a limit of 140 characters this means that things can get rather interesting grammatically or linguistically speaking. And of course it goes without saying that the rules can be broken… and that sometimes it is how the rules are broken that is in fact the point of how and what and why you are saying what it is that you are saying. I do believe it’s a word thing, or a meaning thing, or a wordy, meaningy, languagey thing thing.
There is another aspect to a tweet that I just love. What I have come to call The Perfect 140. You hit that last full stop and see the character counter turn to zero. Ah, what a feeling!
You either get it or you don’t. It doesn’t matter if you don’t.
Other than that, I think what I enjoy about twitter and tweeting is the inherent brevity. Even when being shallow it is still a challenge to do it well with so few characters.
There are also hash tag tweets, which can be fun. I sometimes post tweets with the hash tag #uxbridge. The idea for that comes from the long running radio show I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, which involves a game called Uxbridge Dictionary whereby you give a new meaning to an old word. Hash tags can have a lot more use than that and are a great way of forming groups or common interest streams etc.
The kind of tweets I have not included any examples of in this post are in fact quite possibly the most significant part of and main reason for being on Twitter in the first place, but can’t really be easily shared here, and that is the including of links. Most tweets contain a link of some description, and a link can be almost anything, so it really depends on what your interests are and what your network is like, as to what kind of links you’ll get. But Twitter is without doubt one of the best ways to get up to date with anything you may be curious about, and hashtags is just one of the techniques available.
Below is a snapshot of the 25,000 tweets I’ve posted over the past couple of years sorted into groups that show what I like about, and how I use the tweet form.
What I also can’t show you here, and it’s probably just as well, is all the interaction that went on, and the conversations that some of these tweets were a part of. Though I do have my suspicions that some of the people out there who were involved may have been drinking. Unlike driving you are actively encouraged to drink and tweet at the same time.
The Perfect 140
“Things weigh the same amount as the amount of water they displace! That’s some fucked up repugnant shit!” Samuel L Jackson meets Archimedes
If your book is your baby you may want to start thinking about its cover the same amount of time before it’s due as you would baby clothes.
I am going to record the sound of Morrissey beating the Brodsky Quartet to death with Elvis Costello, and give it away free at garage sales.
Word crunching tweets
When we got arrested at a protest rally I said to my activist dinosaur friend (named after an actor in My Fair Lady) ‘Tyranny saw us, Rex!’
A couple of short planks of wood suspended on rope in a tree. I sit on them when I’m happy and when I’m sad. They are my mood swings.
If I ever have a kid I’m gonna name it Oops.
You call this summer? This ain’t summer! Real summer has bits in it!
All dull and no work makes Jack a playboy.
Hell has no furry women like a scone.
Falsetto rings down. A mobile phone, perhaps, or a pigeon’s high coo.
Have you ever noticed how all personalised number plates spell the word ‘cunt’?
I just ran up the road waving my arms in the air and screaming, ‘I’m not mad!’ There, that should convince the neighbours.
I’ve often wondered: Do spiders have 4 crotches or 8 armpits?
If I were an owl I would be easy to win over for I am a twit-to-woo
Q: Have you read Harry Potter? A: No. Do you buy your own clothes?
I like my men like I like my snow: Thick and fast. I like my women sleety.
I like my women like I like my coffee: Weak and first thing in the morning.
If you get the London School of Economics mixed up with the London School of Ergonomics it may cost you, but it will feel great!
Nobody died in the making of this tweet. No animals were harmed (much), and no computers were thrown through the window. Brownie points!
I don’t get out of bed for less than £20 a day. Oh, the bed sores!
If I fart in bed does that mean my cover’s blown? ~ The flatulent spy.
“Warning! To avoid danger of suffocation to babies and children wear a condom.” Advice I’d print on plastic bags.
You really shouldn’t be judgemental. Leave that shit to me: I’ve got it covered.
Does anyone have the number for Interpol? I think the Sun is missing!
If I misspell ‘typo’ by accident does it cancel itself out?
Many people are an open book. Sadly, it’s the kind of book with a gun shaped void inside.
You can’t teach an old dyke new licks.
Apparently oral sex is not completely safe. Does this mean we shouldn’t even talk about it?
Home is where your heart is… even though I put the rest of you under the patio.
I finger fucked Helen Mirren once.
Fuck! I just fell UP the stairs!
Had great sex last night… now if only somebody else had been there too!
I wonder if strawberry flavoured spectacles would work? I guess I shall have to suck ’em and see!
I think I may suffer from snarkolepsy. A condition where for no apparent reason, and without warning I tell people what I actually think.
Got up, threw my knickers out of the window and shouted at my skirt. Yes, I’m a cross dresser.
I thought I had gotten my knickers in a twist for a moment, but it’s ok – they’re not mine!
You find what you look for; You find it where you look.
Words use people’s mouths to speak themselves with.
Pity the fool. But ridicule the idiot.
We know what we don’t know and we know why we say we don’t know it.
Motivation is everything. Why someone says what they say is more telling than what they actually say. The latter indicates the former.
To support my friends in a loving way and encourage them not to put their hands in the fire I throw rocks at their head.
Isn’t is what isn’t is…. or isn’t.
It is what it is. Although we have now called it something else, lost site of the original, and misspelled it so much that it is now isn’t.
The corrupt seek power. The absolutely corrupt seek absolute power.
Choosing bad over good wholeheartedly is better than choosing good over bad with only half a heart.
It is said that little white lies and half-truths keep the world turning. I know the opposite to be true.
The only difference between the sane and the mad is that the mad believe themselves to be sane, and the sane know themselves to be mad.
Truth does not care how clever you think you are.
You were born knowing what you will die knowing. Everything in between is theory.
To fetishize knowledge is to be anti-intelligent.
It is what it is. And it is all good.
To reflect on the nature of fire while your house burns down around your ears is not a demonstration of wisdom.
Knowing the truth when you hear it is like distinguishing a bell from a gong.
The best thing about easily offended people is that they are easily offended – it’s also the worst thing about them.
Money agrees with money.
Stupidity is a clever choice.
If you’re going to be wrong be as wrong as you can be. It’s better than being half right.
Caring, like love, is an action not a sentiment.
Even if it isn’t…. it’s all good!
Religion is a science.
The universe is in a state of perfection. Everything is exactly as it should be. Sorry about that.
That which doesn’t kill you will only make you stranger.
When someone says, ‘Well, that’s your opinion.’ Guess what? You just won the argument.
The more technologically advanced the society the more primitive its inhabitants.
Trampoline = Fluid for cleaning homeless people #uxbridge
Trollop = a louche horse running #uxbridge
The Cunt Of Monte Cristo #removeoneletter
Officism: The holding of opinions and beliefs about things one has never actually thought about. #itiswhatitis
There is no towel. #HitchHikersGuideToTheGalaxyMeetsTheMatrix
Tweets I just like
Pah! Like I need 140 characters!
Flight: The ability to fall without ever reaching the ground.
If I had a monkey’s chuff I’d probably consider giving it.
If I had a gourd I would probably not be considered to be in it.
I wish the entire world had but one face the easier to lick it.
If I knew how to make a success out of being such a complete fuck-up I wouldn’t.
Clouds are bullying the Sun’s anaemic little brother.
If you ever meet someone who describes himself or herself as a Sufi Poet you can take that to mean not very good.
Nothing is apparent… isn’t it obvious?
Y’know what… I think that maybe coffee isn’t the answer… is never the answer… is in fact the opposite of the answer.
To me it is what it is – clear as crystal – bright as a bell – and no other thing. Though I know not what it is to you – maybe nothing at all.
Aristotle: Reason = Virtue = Happiness. Plato: Everybody must get stoned!
Some people write books; I tweet.
There really should be an ale on the market called Absent Dad
Only a tool uses a power tool.
Nothing human is alien to me…. Politicians don’t count.
Writers! Honestly! They’re making it up as they go along!
Two American writers challenge each other to write: A: You essay! B: You essay! A: You essay! B: You essay!
I predict that one day I’ll be able to see into the future.
There are two kinds of people in the world: I’m one kind, and you’re all another kind.
There are two kinds of people in the world… but I’ve only ever met one.
The act of painting is like an attempt to build cathedrals out of soup.
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what is taking so long to do it!
Cumin, Coriander, Cardamon, Clove, Mace, Cassia, Chilly, Turmeric, Paprika, Mustard Seed, Star Anise… The spice of life is… spice!
What’s the difference between intuition and a pair of scissors? You can run with intuition.
The draw at the bottom of a fridge is called a ‘crisper’ for the same reason the landmass near the North Pole is called Greenland.
‘Just For Men’ targets only the vain.
One of the best things about knowing where to draw the line is to then cross it.
I find the joy of contradiction deeply upsetting.
Nobody understands me. And yet some understand me less than others.
I want to experience everything. I want to try, just once, spending my whole life as a bum.
Did you just call me a moron, or a Mormon? Oh, you wished me a good ‘morning’! Typos can be so funny sometimes.
It had to be you. I had to be you. I suddenly found my feet off the ground. And besides, there were fingerprints!
How do you do what you do to me? I wish I knew. If I knew how you do it to me I could make you stop.
If you don’t know me by now…. I must be really good as this stalking thing.
If you knew Suzy like I knew Suzy you’d probably want to wash you hands.
In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking – now Heaven knows… anal’s all the rage!
If I could talk to the animals, walk with the animals, grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals, they’d lock me up, wouldn’t they?
You do something to me; Something that simply mystifies me… Hey! Where’d ya go?
It is of course possible that none of the above does in fact make me a Twitterist, and that may be a good thing. But I would still have to say, ‘Twitteration!’
Are you on Twitter? I would love to hear what your reasons are for choosing to either have an account and use it, or not, and whether you ever consider changing your mind one way or the other. Please let me know – I would really appreciate the feedback.
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Have a great week!