#74 Tweet sensations (twensations?)

In Social Networking on February 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Or ‘how I learned to stop worrying and love Twitter’.

Although I’ve had an account for about a year, solely to alert more people when I have a new blog post, it’s only in the past three weeks that I’ve actually started using it properly.

On previous visits I’d felt like I was at a party where I didn’t really know anyone. I was hovering on the edge of a circle of cool people, hoping they’d notice me, eavesdropping on female national newspaper columnists and comedy panel show regulars exchanging witticisms (ie slagging off common people) about #MBFGW and XFactor, or discussing the exact Pantone card code of Claudia Winkleman’s face. It felt weird finding out in real time that Stephen Fry is just going off to beddypoos, and I’m still not relaxed about the twitter urge to prefix everything with TW- (twurge? twefix?) or make facial expressions in asterisks *holds head in hands and shakes head*.

Well, after some impromptu coaching from a friend who is actually doing a PhD on social media (you can read her blog at curious catherine) I’ve been encouraged to try again. Her main pieces of advice (ok, the ones I remember – red wine was involved) were:

* be yourself (ie don’t try to be funny if you’re not – so that’s me told)

* if it’s gone, it’s gone (ie don’t worry about reading old tweets)

* there is every type of person tweeting about every type of subject, so follow the ones that interest you and ignore all the rest

[though I think it is still compulsory to follow Stephen Fry]

Taking this advice to heart, and treating it more as a customisable ticker tape of rolling news, I’ve started following people who share the same interests as me and as a result found out lots of really interesting stuff and had instant access to world events (ok gossip).

There’s the hyperlocal London geeks:

@Londonist http://londonist.com

@Diamond Geezer http://diamondgeezer.blogspot.com

@TiredOfLondon http://www.tiredoflondontiredoflife.com

@LDN http://facebook.com/LDNinteresting

@London_Is_Cool http://londoniscool.com

@EatsDulwich http://eatsdulwich.blogspot.com

…and of course @PeterWatts of the Great Wen blog

Trends and ideas people

…of which my current favourite is @PSFK www.psfk.com who tell me about amazing things like an LCD clock powered by flies, biodegradable shoes that will grow into trees, and the Portland bookshop offering Kindles in exchange for paperbacks.

Numerous news feeds, feeding me, er, news: eg: @tweetminster

Writerly advice and support:

@The_Copy_Editor http://www.thecopyeditor.co.uk

Jon Winokur’s @AdviceToWriters http://www.advicetowriters.com/

Brixton-based lit agent and more @TiborJones: http://www.tiborjones.com

@JonnyGeller: http://www.curtisbrown.co.uk/jonny-geller/

@TheScriptLab:   http://thescriptlab.com

@BBCwritersroom: http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom

There’s my favourite magazines helpfully telling me when they’ve got an intersting article, saving me money actually buying their product and thus helping me put myself and my profession out of a job:

Building Design: @BDonline ; Blueprint: @Blueprintmag ; Dezeen: @Dezeen ; New Statesman: @NewStatesman ; New Yorker: @NewYorker; Press Gazette: @pressgazette ; Private Eye: @PrivateEyeNews ; Wallpaper: @wallpapermag ; Vanity Fair: @vanityfair ; Time Out: @TimeOutLondon

Some of my favourite organisations letting me know about their amazing activities: Artangel; @rednoseday/@emmafreud ; London Festival of Architecture ; @City_Mayors www.citymayors.com ; UKHandmade   www.ukhandmade.co.uk ; Creative Tourist    www.creativetourist.com/

There’s topical funnies and diverting videos from @NewsThump www.newsthump.com ; @ArchiveAtBBC ;  and @MiddleClassHB: www.middleclasshandbook.co.uk

And a growing band of Paris-based bloggers giving me a growing list of new in-the-know places to visit on my next trip:

@LostNCheeseland http://www.lostincheeseland.com/

@_I_heart_Paris http://unlockparis.blogspot.com/

Plus a few celebs I’m stalking (Stephen Mangan, Miranda Hart, Jemima Goldsmith, Sarah Millican, Rebecca Front), journalists who I like (best not to say – friends), and foodies. Oh, and Stephen Fry.

I still haven’t used it to initiate a flashmob protest and I’m still the gawky newcomer not entirely sure about the party etiquette and jargon (but at least I now know that #FF isn’t something rude).

Just this morning I’ve found out the route for the Olympic cycle race, how to say rude words in sign language (thanks @nerissact and @dr_whom), discovered that the BBC is recommissioning Upstairs Downstairs and Miranda, but not Just William, dipped into live debate from the State of the Arts Conference (#sota11), and laughed at this joke from Peter Serafinowicz: Nobody really needs a manicure, unless they have a manidisease.

Follow jctblog on Twitter

  1. I must look up this drwhom, he sounds fascinating *curls lip in mock disdain*

    Oh and http://www.shanenickerson.com/nickerblog/2009/06/the-46-stages-of-twitter.html

    I think I’m at about 49 where I still dig Twitter but occasionally find myself tweeting something and realise that I should probably just STFUAEAB (And Eat A Biscuit).

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