Friday 28 August 2009

Rockin' robin, tweet tweet tweet

Some people would call me a Luddite, I think I have even done so myself, but in fact I believe I exercise a healthy questioning pragmatism, albeit cynically, towards new technology.

My kitchen is more wooden spoon than multi-chef, I use separate tools for phone calls or photographs, I prefer to open the car window than use the air-conditioning and I listen to the radio.

So I haven’t exactly rushed on board the hurtling Twitter train.

Sure I’ve read the recent article in Time Magazine claiming that Twitter will change my life, I’ve listened to the views of friends and I look at all the articles that are printed explaining how disasters become newsworthy on the twitwork way before they hit the newsstands.


I guess what I hate is that my species are so unquestioning in face of aggressive, well-planned marketing.

My baseline is the question – does it let me do anything that I couldn’t do before?

Or –was I walking around saying, damm I wish I had a way of sending out 140 character updates on what I am doing?

Anyhow I have signed up for an account, it just hasn’t seemed necessary to use it yet.

If you are reading this and are a twitterite could you explain to me?

1. What is the difference between a twitter and that annoying bit in Facebook pages that say what you are doing now?
2. Is sending a tweet any different than sending a text message to everyone in your mobile phone address book?
3. Why the creators of twitter are so arrogant that they believe they have a right to copyright the word Tweet?

The photo above is of pages 1330 and 1331 of my mother’s 1934 edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English.

It’s a beautiful book; it has convenient alphabetic indentations for easy access, a hard cover made of, granite I think and her name is neatly written on the inside.

It tells me that tweet was current English in 1934, before Jack Dorsey or Biz Jones were even breathing. It was the first word Krissie said this morning when she woke in the garden under the oak tree after another night bathed in Jupiter shine.

Do they really believe they invented the term?

Or is it just a way to get more publicity for something that seems, well, pretty underwhelming.?

It would, in a perfect world, be enough to cause me to boycott the whole thing and even write an angry post on blogger, which I think they also set up.

However what REALLY annoys me is how insanely difficult it is to sign up to the service.

I tried my usual names, topps, topper, popps – all taken.

I tried spelling them backwards, in double and even with multiple consonants – topppppppper – still, apparently taken.

I even tried “whyareyoumakingthissodifficultforme” as username only to be informed that that was already assigned to some poor shmuck!

Even “Idontbelieveyou”, “ohcomeoffityoumustbekidding” and “ihatetwittersguts” – are all being used by some idiot somewhere.


Martin Mackenzie said...

What about your username as


I reckon that will do it

I'm using my bird book - peewit, stonechat, wren etc, but then split the birdname and add some random numbers.
But don't forget, to save and print out all these nefariously generated passwords and stick them on the fridge with a magnet that says 'PRIVATE PROPERTY - PLEASE NOT TO READ' - Ice Cream top shelf left, etc; etc,

Woops - just realized that I'll have to pick another book now I've just blown my cover of bird fancier What about a Slug Book? Do you have one to borrow?

popps said...

Hi Martin, useful advice which i shall consider carefully as i come round to sample your ice -cream.

Anne Hodgson said...

Pity that it's so late in the season and the birds' songs are less melodious. Any bird's song would provide you with an appropriate alias.

Dorothy Parker's famous poem has exactly 140 characters:
"Razors pain you
Rivers are damp
Acids stain you
And drugs cause cramp
Guns aren't lawful
Nooses give
Gas smells awful
You might as well live"

There is an aethetic to the thing. Reading classics backwards in twitter is fun. But for the most part it is more like a perpetual teachers' conference, which is good and bad.
Maybe I should consider a luddite career, too.

Dave said...

1. What is the difference between a twitter and that annoying bit in Facebook pages that say what you are doing now?

>>It's almost the same but without the less annoying (to you) bit.

2. Is sending a tweet any different than sending a text message to everyone in your mobile phone address book?

>>Yes. You are sending it to everyone with a Twitter account (potentially anyone can read it (like your blog)).

@deepspin goes to me but everyone can read it.

d deepspin at the beginning of a tweet goes just to me (no one else can see it (d=direct message).

3. Why the creators of twitter are so arrogant that they believe they have a right to copyright the word Tweet?

>>Are they? They seem like a nice bunch to me from what I've read about and by them. I'm sure they have a dark side though. I didn't know they had tried to be honest.

I find it easy enough to get new names, I have a few accounts. You can us underscores - so Topper_France would work, as would why_are_you_making_this_so_difficult_for_me probably, except I know there is a length limit.

Tell me if you set up an account and we can tweet :-) xx Dave (@DeepSpin on Twitter)

popps said...

Yes Dave i have set up an account - I think i say so in this post, and there is a live link to the newspaper article reporting the attempt at copyrighting.
I hope the fact that you missed these two things is is not down to some Twitter attention span illness you have contracted.
Here's a fourth question- why do you want to tweet with me when we already have a healthy email correspondence, mutual blog copmment sending, unhealthy facebook relationship and aoccasional live sightings?

popps said...

ps Dave thanks for taking the time to answer the questions.

popps said...

Anne - thanks for the poem, i hadn,t seen it before.
I would love to have you on board the luddite ship.

Anonymous said...

Anne, I love Dorothy's poem!! I wrote it down on my "carnet" when I was 14!! I'm not surprised you like it too! and I did not know it was exactly 140 characters!

Popps : Hey it's not that hard to sign in! Have you tried changing the letters'size? LiKe THis?
OH and you are not obliged to write"what you are doing" in your tweets, you can write poems if you like! or une devinette! Twitter is just a tool (a great tool I think) but just a tool nonetheless. It's up to you to use it the way you like, or not use at all of course!


popps said...

Hi alice, welcome to here, i think it's the first time?
And i think you are French - right?
Don't worry - i tend to exaggerate when i write, sometimes i over-exaggerate.
Like you say , it's a tool, i can use it or not, it's just a choice.
I suppose my "beef' is that it's a tool that basically allows me to do things i am already doing with other tools but is marketed and bought as if it was something new.
I write poems, always have - started in the 1960's though i haven't ventured much into devinettes!
Here's one for you.
The more you take away from me the bigger i get.