While I thoroughly enjoy the freedom to ramble inconsequentially at unnecessary length that the blogging platform affords me, I've always been slightly conflicted, dubious even, about Twitter. I mean, what is it for? I suppose I see the point of it if you're a celebrity, have a gazillion followers, and want an easy way of telling them what you're up to, when the new album's out, what you had for breakfast, that sort of thing, but for the everyday man in the street I don't really see the purpose of it. If you want to communicate some opinions which you think are worthy of a wider audience, get a blog. If you want to keep in touch with friends, share some amusing photos, arrange a trip down the driving range, get a Facebook account.
All that really leaves, it could be argued, is joining in some kind of imaginary Big Conversation that's going on and you feel that you can contribute to, perhaps by offering some real-time witticisms about X-Factor or The Great British Bake-Off, or maybe just by taking the easier option of retweeting what Caitlin Moran is saying about them. All of which smacks a bit too much of "getting involved" to me, not to mention resembling the constant calls by politicians for a "national debate" about various topics of burning interest. I honestly can't imagine anything less likely to result in a sensible answer than a national debate, given that most of the British public are consistently wrong about just about everything.
So it seems slightly perverse to announce that I am now on Twitter, and indeed in hindsight I can't really recall why I did it. I think I must just have been bored. But anyway, there it is. I intend to keep it light and humorous (as well as probably fairly sparse), since Twitter is an absolutely terrible medium for serious communication featuring any form of nuance, as (among others) Richard Dawkins has discovered to his cost with a few ham-fisted tweets that quite rightly generated some outraged internet shoutiness (or silent exasperated facepalming, depending on your personality type).
The other thing that non-celebs do on Twitter is try to either get followed or retweeted by a proper celebrity, and then come over all unnecessary about it. In this spirit I offer you Dara O'Briain's generous response to my fairly laboured pun on the word "Winterval" during a brief exchange about the entirely made-up festival of Arthur's Day:
I promise that's the first and last time I'll do that. What I have also done is to set up an auto-tweet facility for these blog posts, via the excellent and easy-to-use (and free) dlvr.it, so if you go onto Twitter you'll see a tweet directing you to this blog post about using Twitter, all accompanied by the crunching and slurping sound of the entire internet folding up on itself and disappearing up its own arse.
Incidentally I coined the word “twogging” to describe the combined multi-social-media activity I’m now indulging in, as you can see, but of course I instantly found that someone else had got there before me. Interestingly the usual usage of the word seems to be different, not describing tweeting while blogging, but instead twerking with dogs (here is an alternative definition derived in much the same way). The (to my ear at least) less harmonious-sounding “bleeting” has actually been used a few times in the sort of context I’m after, though you do have to sift through a lot of mis-spelt renderings of the noise a sheep makes to find them.