I have so far addressed the first world problems of dating, Oasis and eating yogurt in public, but it is time to address Twitter. It’s a combination of Sunday Hyde Park corner speakers, Hello magazine, and a piñata rammed with topics to thrash with the abandonment of people having lost all touch with consequences.
Like everyone else, I’ve been a Twitter member since 2007, when I joined without really knowing what it was. In my rashness, I may have missed the small print that will eventually claim my corpse for vaudeville, but I joined because everyone else was; just like Panini stickers and opening building society accounts in the hope I might one day receive shares, resulting in my savings now languishing in forgotten accounts.
Twitter is where people shamelessly write ‘A problem is only an opportunity that hasn’t presented itself yet’, in a serious font like Baskerville, when it should be in nothing above Courier. Soft focus photos of unicorns, or burbling mountainside brooks, generally illustrate these platitudes, whereas if either image actually had any say about its use, they’d be pursuing matters via legal avenues with the sort of ferocity that no amount of self-help books or positive affirmations can help with. A recent one was: Don’t rush anything. When the time is right, it’ll happen, which is exactly the last thing your employer wants to hear in lieu of a reasonable excuse for arriving to work at lunchtime.
Fellow tweeters include those who have been encouraged by well-intentioned family to string never-ending adjectives together in self-published, unedited, unreadable novels about dragon-slaying, maiden-laying knights, and which they post links to alongside 5 star reviews written by themselves. However, if my novel isn’t picked up soon, I’ll be doing the same, so will withhold judgment.
I have to wonder why I started tweeting. Initially, the advantage of not actually knowing the people ignoring my witty tweets gave Twitter the edge over Facebook, yet you can’t repost them, and I realized it’s like chatting at a party without being able to repeat myself, which is surely the benefit of parties, apart from eating vol-au-vents and leaning against walls you’d otherwise be told not to. At least I have an on-line presence; I’m just unsure what to do with it.
We have the ability to contact every person alive, yet instead of asking what the Green Party is going to do about Qatar requiring air conditioning to host the World Cup and destroying the ozone layer in the process, we’re gawping at camel toes, discussing the virtues of liquid soap and punning #ediblebands.
Then comes the day when you can’t think of an interesting tweet, which arrives with the sort of misplaced guilt more commonly associated with not having a supermarket loyalty card when asked by the cashier. It’s not even as if anyone is clamoring for your next tweet; you’re competing with yourself, which is taking ‘know your enemy’ to new and frankly worrying levels.
Collecting followers, (who needs friends), is briefly nourishing, but like a collection of Toby jugs, beyond washing out dust and dead spiders, what do you actually do with them? That’s not to say I’ve not contacted great people (as he acts quickly to stem sliding follower figures), but most seem to be baseball moms, entrepreneurs who I’m unsure have ever entered an office, and authors who have taken their book’s dust jackets into their own hands.
But the biggest issue with Twitter is that it deludes you into thinking you’ve had social contact. It affirms your presence, yet you can spend the day without opening your mouth (eating doesn’t count). You want affirmation? Pretend this is in Courier: Turn on the garden sprinkler and you’ll find your rainbow.
My first novel, The Life Assistance Agency – selected by WHSmith Fresh Talent 2017 – is available here and its sequel is scheduled for publication in April 2019.
This post was previously published on The Life Assistance Agency and is republished here with permission from the author.
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Photo credit: The Life Assistance Agency