Friday, October 01, 2010

Why Nadine Dorries is wrong - aka Twitter saved my sanity

Spidey and Andrew have already taken Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire Nadine Dorries to task for her ill informed comments about Twitter. Just to remind you, the lady thinks there must be something wrong with you if you tweet a lot:

I wonder if very soon someone is going to identify a Twitter syndrome and we get to read about people who have become compulsive Tweeters. Will we hear stories of people who Tweet, oh I don't know, say 50 times a day and need to go into re-hab?
I will put money on that being a Daily Mail story one day. In the meantime, do you know of anyone else who has Tweeted more than 35,000 times in less than six months? If so, email my office and let me know. Or, better still, if it's someone you know is on benefits, contact the DWP.
To me, the telling phrase is "I will put money on that being a Daily Mail story one day." There's a paper never prone to hysterical hyperbole if ever there was one.

I have managed a mere almost 26000 tweets in 2 years, but I have to say that when I was ill last year, Twitter was my lifeline. I'd joined up in September 2008 but couldn't really see the point in it. When I became ill to the point where I could barely stay out of bed for more than a couple of hours last year, it meant that my social life had to be heavily curtailed. I have always been pretty sociable and outgoing and my friends mean an awful lot to me. While I can be quite happy in my own company, isolation for a prolonged period gets me down.

For me, Twitter was a way of keeping in touch with my friends - and getting to know more brilliant people. It was also something I could do from bed and with a maximum of 140 characters, it meant that it didn't take too much time or energy to take part in a conversation and just feel that I was still part of the outside world.

I am sure that if I hadn't had that sort of interaction that I would quickly have gone under. I've suffered from Depression before on many occasions and I know how scary, dark and horrible a place that is. I credit Twitter as being one of the things that spared me another crippling spell with the Black Dog and thus enabling me to return to my normal productive self as quickly as I possibly could.

And a word to Nadine about how people at a keyboard are clearly capable of working. Well, thing is, you can do keyboard stuff without getting out of bed. I was discussing my illness with a friend of mine with a similar condition yesterday and we both had similar experiences of being able to sit in one place, but actually even walking from one room to another was enough to exhaust me. The end of the street for a time might have well as been on the moon. Commuting to work, walking to the office and climbing a huge staircase before I even started to do anything was way beyond my capabilities. Even now, some days are more difficult than others. Hoovering might one week be undemanding, the next it might floor me. It all seems pretty random.

I'm so much better now, but even a year on, I find that if I don't pace myself properly, I'll end up paying the price. These days I'm often physically able to power on through, do it anyway, and take the consequences later in a way that wasn't possible when it was at its worst. However, because I'm going out tonight (thank you, Willie Rennie, for organising a do on the opening night of Strictly. I am so delighted to be missing the return of my favourite programme, really I am), I know I'll have to ease up this afternoon.

So, Nadine, as ever, is talking absolute nonsense. Her Twitter experience was definitely different from mine. I love to engage and debate and discuss and generally have a bit of fun. She used to block people who disagreed with her, including many people I have a very high opinion of, like Mark Thompson and Matt Raven and Sara Bedford. I remember being involved on the fringes of a debate between her, Mark and Matt in which they wre arguing that alcohol abuse was frequently more harmful than recreational drug use and she ended up blocking either or both of them.

Her final tweet before deleting her account on election night, was to insult Evan Harris as he lost his seat. That sums up the sort of person she is. I'm not taking lectures on how I should spend my time from someone who's capable of that sort of bile.

I've been tagged in a meme about Twitter but I think I shall make that a separate post.


Jacq Kelly said...

I'm unconvinced that Nadine Dorries has ever uttered a single word of sense.

People often criticise Twitter/ Facebook etc. without any regard for the fact that it can be a vital lifeline and source of social contact or information for people with short and long-term disabilities.

Ian Ridley said...

Some Tory MPs show amazing levels of ignorance but Nadine never disappoints: "if you Tweet too much, you must be fiddling benefits"

I hope Linda Jack stands again in Mid Beds - hopefully Nadine's pronouncements will come back to haunt her.

KelvinKid said...

Dorries is a horrible woman on many counts and the point you make is a serious one. I noted a while ago that an Employment Tribunal had upheld an employer's dismissal as being fair on the grounds that their employee spent considerable time on Facebook. This was taken as evidence that the employee's sickness was fraudulent.

The reality is that the effort involved in keyboarding is minimal and Facebook and Twitter can be a lifeline to those trapped at home by infirmity.

KelvinKid said...

Funnily enough others are worried about the same thing


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