On Twitter: For the Technologically Bemused

So it’s been a little while since I joined the twitter community, and I can honestly say that I don’t think it’s really enriched my life yet. I have developed a new working knowledge of what Stephen Fry’s imaginary wife feels like, and what she has for dinner, but nothing of any real note. It’s incredibly frustrating; I thought it was going to be a way to access a media waterhole, a way to promote this blog, and to establish an internet presence. And bizarrely enough, my strange little webpage has far more followers than my humble twitter account.

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Part of the problem might be however that I’m not very good at tweeting. I don’t understand the point of it, and I never know what would make an entertaining tweet, given you’re only allowed one hundred and sixty characters. I can’t imagine how a person manages to get an interesting, engaging piece of information into such a small space. Also, I never know what people are interested in; I could say, for instance, that I’m having roasted butternut squash for dinner, but honestly, who really cares? Aside from being able to update people instantaneously about what’s going on in your life, I see no real benefit. I imagine you must need friends who also tweet. I have no such friends, or people who would even contemplate doing so.

Twitter has essentially replaced the BBC when it comes to announcing ground breaking news, however I tend to be the last to know everything. The nature of the website suggests that you’d have to be constantly looking at it, updating and retweeting (also, what is the point of “retweeting”? Someone has already mentioned it…) tweets. I get bored, log off, and come back a day later with absolutely no idea of what I’ve missed. And surely the point of twitter is that you miss out on absolutely nothing. Including all your friend’s bathroom breaks, meal choices, and romantic engagements. One would almost start to think that there is no privacy in the world. Not even in waste expulsion.

The only reason I really acquired twitter was to, as I mentioned above, promote myself; I’m not sure if this particular endeavour is really paying off yet, or maybe I simply have to give it time. I wonder if anyone else has had experiences of twitter lately, and are you as bemused as myself by the whole affair?

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(1) http://www.whatralphknows.com/WindowsLiveWriter/FunnyTwitterCartoon_13F7F/twitter%20cartoon_thumb.jpg

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Blogging is a Launchpad

In today’s world of instantaneous Internet access, where relationships can change in a second, it is vital, if you are serious about publishing and breaking into the media sphere, to be able to write a blog, and publish regularly. The instant changes that are possible via the Internet make publishing, editing, and writing the most competitive it has ever been; editors in publishing have to sift through innumerable manuscripts, picking out only the very best, and the most marketable.

Perhaps one of the hardest challenges for a writer is the ability to reconcile their true artistic will with the potential for it to sell to a wider market. Simply put, there is a choice to be made: whether one wants to make money, or whether one wants to maintain his artistic integrity. Being able to work inside a market whilst writing exactly as one wishes to is potentially impossible.

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Blogging today however allows amateur writers to publish their work independently, and attract readers through their own merit, and of course, a little Internet wizardry. Everyone who wishes to can be a part of this community, which has spread over the last few years with an almost viral intensity; businesses, individuals, authors, musicians and academics all have some form a blog; a way to keep in touch with the real people who are interested in their work; and to this end, blogging is perhaps the greatest tool available in the corporate world; the ability to “put themselves out there” without seeking the approval of an editor, agent, or authority. It allows them to publish what they wish, publish what they believe is good, and receive approval or constructive criticism based on a peer review system.

There does however seem to be a sort of blogging hierarchy; ranging from the experienced to the newest bloggers (like myself) who seek advice from one another. This creates an informal network, with constant information available to every user of the Internet. Whilst this is generally a positive experience, the struggle to be noticed, commented on, and reviewed by one’s own peers can be soul-destroying in itself, because you could feel as though you are simply confined to the silicone scrap pile.

At this point, it would be prudent to look at the dangers of the Internet; identity issues, comment spammers, and those who act in a predatory fashion. There will always be the issue of Internet privacy, however with a little common sense, and informational discretion, problems such as this can be avoided. The key here is discretion; as with everything else in writing, subtlety is often the best policy.

For anyone hoping to start blogging as a way into the wider world, and as a way to explore different mediums of communication, I’d say go ahead, and never be afraid of commenting, following and generally being involved in other user’s forums. Being involved means that others become curious about you; and being shy on a blog is a guaranteed way to avoid people reading your work. Be brave, be bright, and consider what you want to write before you published; discretion is probably a good rule of thumb.

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