Sunday, October 03, 2010

My Twitter and I

Sarah, who is one of the very lovely Twitter F1 crowd I've met over the past year or so, has tagged me in this meme about Twitter. In a week where Nadine Dorries has shown such ignorance about social networking, it's great to have the opportunity to properly celebrate Twitter.

When did you join Twitter?

I wonder how Sarah found out the exact date. You used to be able to from Tweetdeck, but not any more by the looks of it. 

Why did you join Twitter?

Mainly because I was sick fed up of seeing my friends' Facebook statuses referring to things going on on Twitter so I joined to see what all the fuss was about.

It took me about 3 months to really get the hang of it and see what it could be used for. If you sign up to Twitter you need to build up a critical mass of people you are following and who follow you before it makes any sort of sense and that can take time.

I think it's great because it means I can share my wide range of interests in Doctor Who, politics, the Lib Dems, F1, Strictly, books, and just attitudes to life in general with a lovely bunch of people,many of whom I know in real life, and loads I don't but have come to know through Twitter.

Who is/was your first or oldest follower? Who did you follow first? Tell me all about them.

There is a surprising amount of reciprocity. My first follower was someone called Tom Griffin, a journalist and blogger. Then came my friend Andrew. I had actually been following his tweets in the olden days when you could do it via text. This led to a funny experience one afternoon while I was on holiday in Mallorca in 2008. There I was, lying by the pool,minding my own business, when a text tweet came from Mr Reeves asking a question about Reliant Robins. Because they were setting up the Glasgow East by-election campaign then, I wondered if this was for a bit of casework so like the helpful little person I am, I texted back loads of info. Turns out he'd just seen one drive past the office. Not only had I wasted my time doing that, but I then had to listen to my husband talking for ages about the history of the dratted vehicle when all I wanted to do was read my trashy novel.

After Andrew, it was my friend Duncan Borrowman, Stephen and then for a few months my Twitter feed was almost exclusively Lib Dems and Scottish bloggers. It used to be great fun to wake up in the morning and read back what my insomniac friends had been saying overnight. I remember enjoying reading increasingly frenetic accounts of the 2009 Superbowl by Malc, now at Better Nation and Stephen. 

Funnily enough it was Andrew, Duncan and Stephen who were the first people I followed, along with the slightly eccentric and always philosophically amusing Charles Dundas

It wasn't until the F1 season started in 2009 that I started to get to know some of the F1 crowd on Twitter. I think I have another Duncan aka Doctorvee. Last year's season, with the success of Brawn GP and the shenanigans of Max Mosley leading to threats of a breakaway series bonded fans together. The Maxout campaign with its myriad avatars in various team colours was one example of how we all tried to save our favourite sport. I made friends on Twitter who I couldn't imagine a race without. 

In fact, when the qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix fell on my birthday and I couldn't watch because we were travelling, the lovely Kate tweeted me my ultimate fantasy qualifying session with all my favourite drivers making up the front of the grid and my not so favourites crashing out in various amusing forms. It was a very thoughtful and fun birthday present.

Do you have any celebrities following you, or have you ever had a DM from a celeb?

Well, I have 5 Cabinet Ministers - Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Chris Huhne, Michael Moore and Danny Alexander! If Lib Dem MPs count, I have a fair few of them - and some from other parties too. Phillip Schofield has been following me for about a year and a half. There's also some political journalists and BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan Jones.

I've not had DMs from celebs who aren't politicians, but I've had replies from, among others, Rubens Barrichello, Nelson Piquet Jr, Heikki Kovalainen, his girlfriend Catherine Hyde, Jake Humphrey and Jonathan Legard and the pinnacle was a follow Friday recommendation from Official Brawn GP last year that pleased me so much I had to blog about it. I've also had replies from Jenni Falconer, a RT and replies from former Strictly pro dancer Camilla Dallerup and several replies from former Strictly dancer Brian Fortuna.

But, actually,good though those are, it's the everyday fun and interaction with all my Twitter friends that makes it so enjoyable, whether it's chatting with Billi about the many merits of Anton Du Beke, or celebrating as James Shaddock finally succumbed to the charms of Strictly last night.

Helen Duffett recently wrote a chapter for Iain Dale's Total Politics Guide to Blogging book in which I get a mention saying  that 
To me, the most exciting thing about Twitter is that it gives everyone - from Cabinet ministers to MPs to councillors, from activists to people who aren’t in politics - the chance to interact on a level playing field. This can and does make political debate healthier.
Twitter has this great capacity to bring people together. Sure, it has its fair share of idiots and negative stuff, but you can choose to ignore that.  That level playing field is really important.

If you could follow anyone not on Twitter – alive, dead, real or fictional – on Twitter, who would it be?

Louis Walsh - he'd be hilarious and he'd just say what he thinks

I think it would have been great to have had tweets from the Suffragettes' campaign. I wonder if there had been a 24 hour news cycle then whether things would have changed a lot more quickly and fewer lives would have been lost.

I want Orkney and Shetland MP and Comptroller of HM Household Alistair Carmichael to start tweeting again. He is so good at it. His Facebook statuses never fail to make me laugh. For example, his most recent refers to last night's X Factor "A painter called Matt? Am I the only one who finds that funny?" 

Michael Schumacher would be brilliant - but he's too private I think to ever take to Twitter properly.

Which came first? Twitter or blog?

Blog - that started in September 2006. I think Twitter has enhanced it because it feeds automatically into my timeline and it's made it much easier to share what I write.

All that's left is to tag some people. It would be wrong not to tag the Queen of F1 Twitter and Schumi fandom Sarah Green, the lovely book loving, F1 loving, Lewis Hamilton loathing Kate, clever, craft loving and fabulous Mammy Dalby, Stephen, with whom I can spend an evening exchanging tweets from across the room and someone who came to Twitter reluctantly because it would be good to find out what he thinks, Jeff from Better Nation. and the feisty Spiderplant who commentates on many things but is particularly prolific during Question Time on Thursdays.


Anonymous said...

Wow your musings page is excellent... You really are high tech. Hope to see you all next year at the conferences.. Keep well lots of love to you and family.

Kirsty Lowex

Sarah said...

Thanks for replying to my post! It's so interesting to see how people got started on Twitter.

You've definitely got some celeb followers! I think the deputy prime minister is pretty high up there LOL

I found out the exact date I joined Twitter on I should have posted that URL, sorry! I'm sure it used to be on my profile page (on Twitter for iPhone) but it seems to have been removed.

Kate said...


Charles Dundas said...

You say the nicest things... and I say the cheekiest, it should be "My Twitter and Me" not "My Twitter and I"

Billi said...

Discussing why Anton is great: the best use of Twitter. Fact.


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