Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Twitter, Again

So Nadine Dorries has been whinging about Twitter. Auntie Nadine tells us that not only is it banal, but it's a symptom of a deep malaise in Western civilisation. Apparently there have to be some seriously ominous movements deep within the bowels of society for making so many people want to communicate 140 character long messages (or less!) with like-minded people.

Of course, if society is so broken and alienating, it has absolutely nothing to do with the economic and social policies implemented by her ilk from Thatcher to the present day.

I've been on Twitter for nearly a couple of months now, and yet I do not feel caught up in some kind of enclosed social bubble. Unlike Dorries's colleagues in the
shadow cabinet, it has helped put me in loose contact with people from all sorts of backgrounds. These include activists, bloggers and other interesting people I wouldn't necessarily have encountered in Stoke - despite The Potteries being the world centre of political and cultural events. And when you're in the activist game, weak ties can be very important.

But there's more to Twitter than that. For me it has become something of an interactive news feed. A typical day sees banter going back and forth, but also the stories and blog posts you may have otherwise missed are highlighted, and that's not forgetting things the media would otherwise ignore. Where was the police violence at the G20 and the death of Ian Tomlinson first broken? The blogs helped keep the story alive a full week before the mainstream media (with the honourable exception of
The Graun) realised it wasn't going to go away, but you heard it first on Twitter.

And yes, you can tell everyone what you thought of
In the Loop or how your cat wiped his arse on the carpet, but you can promote your own blogging output (boosting your blog readership) and articles put out by your friends or party. It is another arena for fighting the battle of ideas.

In my opinion Twitter is extremely useful for the internet-going lefty. But that applies equally to the right as well. Sadly not many of our opponents and enemies among the Tories share Dorries's Luddite attitude.

Plug: You can follow me here, and a list of socialist twitterers is here.


Frank Partisan said...

I like Facebook better at this time. It's more flexible.

Benjamin Solah said...

Ah, I hate it when technophobes try to make some rubbish argument about technology ruining society.

Capitalism is far more dangerous, I say.

Anonymous said...

Gawd, firstly lemme get personal, what a 'orrible tacky necklace Ms Dorries is wearing. Tories have no taste.... (sorry I just had to get that off my chest)

Secondly, Twitter..... like Facebook I have to remind myself to use it (I have missed stuff which I shouldn't have!). I agree with your sentiments Phil and it does increase traffic to your blog. There are uses, and the 'net is a good way for social/political networking. And it can be also a good larf as well...

Btw: your poor cat...you probably embarrassed the feline about his bottom wiping antics....

Phil said...

Facebook, ah ... I've had increasingly little time for that of late. It was good for the odd game of scrabble though!

While we're on the subject of Nadine Dorries, she's on Question Time this Thursday. Should make for an interesting live twittering experience.

Benjamin Solah said...

Oh Scrabble and that Word game are addictive!

I do get heaps of hits to my blog from there too, more than Twitter probably because I have more Facebook friends than Twitter followers at the moment.

Daisy Deadhead said...

I think the main problem with Twitter is that it separates the young and old, even MORE than garden-variety computer-usage does (which is considerable already)... I have no idea how to do such a thing. (Good god, people, I just figured out blogging!)

As soon as us old people show up, it's like: we figured out another way to KEEP YOU OUT! AHA!