I like the little bird…

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There is one company that has changed my world for the last 2 years; Twitter. I don’t know much about the people behind it  but I know that they have largely stayed true to the best intentions of the internet 2.0 – connecting people directly and in the way that they want to be connected.

I have been able to communicate with some of my favourite comedians, journalists and writers. I have even been able to broadcast my temporary nonsense to my (very few) followers and get the feedback that for that one moment, somebody, somewhere GETS what I’m saying.

Granted, my first tweet wasn’t poetry. I called my friend, who introduced me to twitter, a twat. I think he got the postmodern angle I was going for but in fact I was probably hedging. I wasn’t sure if this was a fad or something as great as it promised. I have since gotten down off the fence.

Twitter is to the web what Mobile phones are to the world. If you had the phone numbers of almost anybody in the world that you find interesting…

Hey Steve Martin, what’s going on? Oh, that’s hilarious, poor old trusting wife, she gets such a hard time…

Hey young lady in Libya, is that the military police coming up the stairs for your father? Oh, that’s devastating, let us know, we are all hurrying our governments in any way that we can.

Hey Graham Linehan, is that your angle on the Norway massacre, seems to me to miss the point. Oh, that’s a new angle, hadn’t thought of that…

Hey Rob Kearney, how do you prepare for a big match? Oh, I would have thought that you would have to be in the zone much earlier than that, interesting…

Hey Dean, is that what Socrates said about tech startups? interesting…

Hey Rory McIlroy, hope the Nike clubs work out, oh they suck? don’t aim for the trees this time….

Where was there ever such a source of insight before? It doesn’t even feel like a website or a company. It feels like a community. A community that I made. And a community that I continue to make. For whatever reason, I made myself some rules;

  1. follow 99 people or less,
  2. no more than 1 tweet per day,
  3. at least 9 people who I fundamentally differ from,
  4. no commercially motivated (re)tweets or competitions,
  5. no extended 1 on 1 conversations

The idea being that I need to constantly prune my content providers to those who are current and those that I tire of. I also need to not binge and to keep opinions around that I disagree with to hone debate or see an angle I may not have considered. Rules 4 and 5 are pretty obvious; a waste of the opportunity provided by the forum. It can disappear as quickly as it was created, I have to treat it carefully. I realise that sounds pompous and exaggerated but it is a powerful tool and I’d like to keep from pouring a little bucket of scorn on it

I have followed many of the events of the last 2 years (Libya, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Brevik, SOPA, Murdoch, Charlie Sheen, Global elections, Fin Crisis, Irish Rugby, Joey Barton, even Normal Life) in such depth that it has weaned me off newspapers, maybe forever. And, with a little work, I found people with that wonderful balance of interest and insight about current events but without the posturing of an editorial or newsreader.

Take Robert Peston as an example; from explaining the fallout of the latest top-level, golden parachute first-hand to his continuing frustrations as a Gooner watching Wenger flap at his beloved club as they stumble from disappointment to disappointment. As an Irish, Chelsea supporter I am perfectly placed to enjoy his commentary!

Anyway, this is a company that provides exactly what I didn’t know that I needed so badly in a way that is so intuitive and current that I only hope that SOPA and sponsored tweets don’t eat away at the original intent. This site has power in the real world and I hope they continue to prioritise that.

In the meantime, the world is waiting for my mum’s second tweet…

tweet 1

tweet 1

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