What is Twitter?

Net | roomybonce | May 8, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Let’s start at the beginning. Go to www.twitter.com, create an account and log-in. You can then search for people to ‘follow’ (like adding friends on Facebook, except you don’t have to know them) and once you’re following them you will receive their ‘Tweets’. A Tweet is basically like a Facebook status update. It’s text only and can be a maximum of 140 characters long, but it can include links. You can reply to any Tweet, or you can write your own, about anything.

As to why you should bother, see if you can find an answer to that in this single day in the life of a Twitterer - 24 hours of highlights and insights into the everyday lives of various UK celebs who Tweet more often than most, starting, at 0900 yesterday morning, with student comedy hero Richard Herring showing off his new Hitler moustache. “Haven’t gone out yet,” said Rich, “too scared of death.” Meanwhile, our own Head Chef was unearthing the fact that “All the carrots in the world originally came from Afghanistan”.

By midmorning, panel show whore Jimmy Carr was “Drinking mint tea & ordering lots of food in an edit suite” while working on his latest stand-up tour DVD, and included a picture to demonstrate just how ball-freezingly utilitarian Soho edit suites can be. Meanwhile Father Ted & IT Crowd mastermind Graham Linehan was having a pop at John Cleese: “Can’t wait to see John Cleese restore some lost dignity in ‘Pink Panther 2′! Hope he promotes it by telling us what’s wrong with TV comedy!” before posting an uplifting link to a breaking news story from those on-the-ball chucklemuffins at The Onion:

The Arch Prostitute of Twitter Stephen Fry then admitted he was enjoying himself ’hugely’ while having lunch on Day 2 of the West Indies test at Lords. The Vice Prostitue of Twitter Jonathan Ross chimed in from the set of his chat show, claiming he was recording it earlier than usual and sharing a swift snap of his guests, including Dizzee Rascal and the Loose Women. Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ captain Phil Jupitus then proposed Dana Carvey’s ‘The Master of Disguise’ as a shoo-in for Mr Linehan’s next Bad Movie Club (a Twitter phenomenon in which any number of people hire & watch the same DVD at the same time and Tweet throughout about how plumb godawful it is). Now, I’ve seen some pretty loose cinematic stools in my time - including ”Highlander 2: The Quickening” which essentially decapitated the original premise and piped diarrhea into its spasming torso - but I felt compelled to concur with Mr Jupitus that Mr. Carvey does indeed suck balls:

I thought his Al Pacino was pretty good though. Evening arrived with an irritated howl from ’The Thick of It’ and ‘Day Today’ God Armando Iannucci: “Who is the twat-thumper who put me down as a ‘contributor’ to the Government’s weep-rag LabourList? I want his or her cock for a salad.” By 7 o’clock Jimmy Carr was getting ready for his gig in Ipswich and Jonathan Ross was promising to stop prevaricating and finally get round to dusting his pathetically massive collection of action figures. Personally, I stopped collecting action figures when I was 16 - I’ve read Kipling, I know what’s required of me - so what kind of a man continues to indulge in such fripperies on the cusp of his fifties? A man who has maintained intimate contact with his inner child, that’s who. A man who is consequently a multi-millionaire while I toil in a multimedia sweatshop of my own fabrication. Damn you Kipling! 

The Midnight Hour, and Phil Jupitus was passing on an observation made by his pal barkatthemoon who was live at the Morrissey gig in Barrowlands: “Morrissey gigs contain more drunken 40+ c**ts per sq foot than anywhere else in the developed world.” I don’t know if I’m qualified to contest this, not being a massive Moz fan as such, but I did enjoy the accompanying pic of the ‘entirely hetero’ stage backdrop.:


Meanwhile Gavin & Stacey star Mathew Horne was flicking nostalgically through old cassettes in his childhood bedroom in Nottingham. Cue a flurry of fuzzy pics of old C90 spines featuring LTJ Bukem (’superlolz’) Sultans of Ping FC (’Carnal Sex in the Cineplex’ and yes, a Mix!!!’) James (’Poor old Johnny Yen’) and Jesus Jones (’Actually. Love. This. Album’). I hated Jesus Jones myself. I detested their floppy hair and Mike Edwards’ nasal vocals inciting me to murder. I class the three huge singles off this album - “Real Real Real”, “International Bright Young Thing” and “Right here, Right Now” - as the nadir of the ‘baggy’ sound, but then I was 21 at the time and Mathew Horne was only 13 and that’s an eternity in anyone’s musical taste. Mr Horne then candidly revealed his homemade mixtapes of The Stone Roses, complete with self-made covers in a John Squire stylee (awww bless) but I won’t embarrass him further by posting them here.

As the wee hours ticked on, Peter Serafinowicz (the rubber-larynxed gentle giant from ’Look Around You’, ‘Black Books’, and his eponymous show) found himself contemplating cosmic thoughts: “When I look up at the night sky and think about the billions of stars out there, I think to myself: I’m amazing.”

He then asked folk to send in their ‘bad words to start a novel’, to which Graham Linehan replied: “Pull my finger, gentle reader.” Just after 0100 Eddie Izzard told everyone he was going to bed. “I would like tomorrow to be warmer in London please” he requested of God, but sadly no-one was listening because even The Almighty is sick unto death of Eddie Izzard Tweeting about the bloody weather.

And so the morning comes and our Twitter Day ends, appropriately, with Stephen Fry: “First day’s recording of new series of QI today. Fabulous surprise guest tonight. I’m pressing my thighs together in excitement….New Series G will air in the autumn I reckon. Not sure of dates. F only finished airing last month, no? I was away, so not sure. Duh, sorry!”

And so what have I learned from the last 24 hours? Not a great deal, if we’re talking pure facts, but I have managed to squeeze more than a modicum of fun from the pics, vids, and bon mots of the rich & famous - at least as much, if not more, than I’ve ever found in most newspapers and magazines, and it’s all straight from the proverbial horse’s bouche. No longer must I wait for the next Word or Mojo to pluck the already weeks old thoughts of my favourite ’stars’ from their pages. I have them here in their purest, improvised, unedited form.

And it can be a conversation. I can Tweet them just as they can Tweet me. Granted, they may not reply - Stephen Fry has an impossibly unmanageable half a million followers - but who knows when you might catch their eye and find a reply in your ‘mention’ box? I know it sounds faintly ridiculous, but I still felt a teensy thrill exchanging Tweets about Al Murray with Dom Holland from ‘The Wright Stuff’. If you’re a Red Dwarf geek and still only reading ‘TV Zone’ then get onto Twitter right now and perhaps, like my friend Roundcat - who has no Red Dwarf connections whatsoever - you could find yourselves discussing the finer points of RD with Robert ‘Kryten’ Llewellyn while he’s sitting in the studio waiting to record his commentary for the next box set.

It may not sound like much, but it’s a direct contact we’ve never had, until now. And I know it’s only illusionary, but being privy to all those thoughts somehow makes me feel like all our lives - followers and following alike - are interwoven. 

Isn’t that a truly great thing? That’s what I think Twitter is. A magician of community.

Tags: , graham linehan, jimmy carr, john cleese, , , peter serafinowizc, phil jupitus, red dwarf, richard herring, , the onion, , what is twitter?
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  1. Head Chef says:

    Twitter is basically fun isn’t it, and will pass like all internet trends or things will evolve so fast that it will seem archaic in a years time, but for now it’s really entertaining. I don’t understand a lot of the animosity, to me it’s brevity is it’s strength. Plus, Jonathan Ross saved my marriage and advised me to let my wife choose a dvd occasionally after I asked him whether I should divorce her for sighing when I choose a film to watch.

  2. roomybonce says:

    Thank god for Mr. Ross then. You’re right that Twitter is mainly fun, and I also think it develops a fantastic discipline in forcing you to write within that 140 limit. AudioBoo will pass pretty quickly onto BooTube, or whatever Twitter’s video equivalent will be, but I reckon so long as there’s writers there’ll always be a Twitter, or something very much like it. The immediacy of it is just too easy.

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