The joys of Twitter

I’m really starting to enjoy using Twitter. After a year and a half of being ‘on it’, its appeal and possibilities are starting to shine through.

It’s been interesting to see its effect on my blogging. A great deal of the appeal of blogging, for me at least, is getting things off my chest. Expressing things quickly and easily that annoy me, interest me, or that I think might interest others, all written for noone in particular. A vast Letter to the Editor, that always gets printed.

Twitter lets me get things off my chest very efficiently. If I’ve twittered about the nincompoop crashing headlong into another car after he jumped the light, by the time I get to my laptop the desire to blog at length about the incident has faded. Coupled with less travel, which is when I blog the most, Twittering has definitely affected my blogging mojo. I’m hoping that blogging frequency will improve over the coming weeks – I know I have some regular readers and I know I enjoy a good blog post, so I will be trying to up my game a bit.

The immediacy and intimacy of Twitter is also great fun. I subscribed to Paris Hilton’s feed for a while whilst I wrote my article on her visit to the UAE. It was bizarre knowing when Paris was going to bed, whilst not really knowing what lots of my friends back home were up to – something I would be much more interested in.

On the other hand, it’s great fun seeing what my twittering friends are up to, both those I know well and those I never met but would like to meet one day. Sometimes it’ll be a laugh out loud moment, as someone tweets about a Cairo cab journey, for example. Other times it’s just nice to know what people are up to – people I would like to see more of, but simply aren’t able to.

I’ve particularly enjoyed seeing Sheikh Mohammed embrace Twitter. Just now I learnt that he has just been chatting to David Miliband about relations between the UK and the UAE, as well as other weightier matters. I hope Mr Miliband did a good job impressing Sheikh Mo. I also hope Sheikh Mo enjoyed the art exhibition he visited last night.

There’s an art to a good tweet, just as there is to writing a good novel, essay, email, blog entry or other written missive. I am not interested in ‘I’ve just eaten a croissant for breakfast’, but I can skip past that sort of thing when viewing my ‘feed’ of people I follow. A good tweet should, in my opinion, contain something mildly interesting or entertaining. Rather than ‘I’ve just eaten a croissant for breakfast’, ‘Emirates’ limp, soggy croissants don’t do French cuisine justice’ might be more fun. But who cares? I don’t have to read what other people write, just as they don’t have to read what I write.

The whole thing is fascinating – a brand new way of communicating, with an immense following, but noone can quite put a finger on what its appeal really is. Equally fascinating will be whether anyone can make money out of millions of people burbling their nonsense to all and sundry. I would miss Twitter if it went away, but I wouldn’t pay for the service.

If you are interested in following my rantings and burblings in 140 characters or less, you can do so here.


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