Saturday, April 05, 2008

Twitter: A Great Big Geeky Curb Your Enthusiasm

All human emotion is to be found on Twitter and quite often the heightened kind. Having recently engaged with the geek communication tool of choice, I've been informed and amused by the public highs and lows of some influential figures on the tech scene.

My personal favourites of the last fortnight have been stars of the twitterati Michael Arrington letting it be known what he thinks of Dave Winer (whose ambiguously pronounced surname lends itself to the poetry of the "tweet") and Techcrunch UK's Mike Butcher raging against the middle classes.

All splendid, honest outpourings from the gut, although both left me wondering whether these tweets are an authentic representation of their personalities or an online manifestation of an inner rage, rather as one imagines nervy teens maraud around World of Warcraft as giant, sexy troll slayers (apologies if there are no giant troll slayers sexy or otherwise, WoW is one party I won't be crashing).

No doubt it's the intimacy, impulse and instant gratification of the medium that leads to fewer inhibitions than one might expect from long-established forms of public communication - an extension of a phenomenon seen in lots of online communication tools and services. But I'm not complaining, the mixture of work and play spiced up with some fervour and a little old fashioned curmudgeonry is really entertaining, like a great big geeky Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Guessing that if you've got this far, you may have some interest in new media, be new to Twitter and it's likely you're based in the UK, here are a few good people to start following: Steve Bowbrick cos he's funny; Downing Street (yes, it really is them) cos it feels nicely weird and it'll be interesting to see how they use it; and The Guardian's Jemima Kiss cos she's charming and useful. The two Mikes above are also great twitterboxes or tweetheads or whatever the word is for one who tweets prolifically (thanks to twitter mates for ideas so far, any better ideas @louby please).

But Larry David on Twitter, now there's a thought. Check out the first paragraph of his bio on The Huffington Post, it's his perfect medium, surely?


neilperkin said...

Good stuff Lou. Am a recent Twitter convert myself and surprising how addictive it is. Had no idea about the Downing St one (that is weird). The Obama one has turned into a right old phenomenon, but then Gordon Brown is no Obama I suppose

ArkAngel said...

Twitter feels to me like a disturbing manifestation of the failure to live in the present. There's something deep-down disturbing and unhealthy about it. Or maybe I should just lighten up...

Louise Brown said...

I have heard that accusation levelled at blogs and social networks previously, people just living to report what they've done rather than just living it.

The additional aspect to Twitter is the speed and intimacy of it that encourages the exposure of inner dialogue - which lots of comedy shows thrive on - not just Curb where we cringe and delight in Larry saying the thing that he can't possibly say, can he? But, for example, Peep Show as well. Get one of those boys a Twitter account ...

Is it unhealthy? Yeah a little. Should we be a little disturbed like you? Possibly. Some of that inner dialogue really is best left to the therapists to reconcile if you're not on a comedy show.

Oh my god. Twitter therapy - now there's a ... (Sorry)