At the risk of appearing horribly social mediarist, I hate Twitter. I quite like Facebook. I can get on with YouTube. I find Instagram a bit poncey - but then I suppose even poncey people need somewhere to call their own (Legal notice: other forms of social media are available, but I simply can’t be bothered to find out what they are). But I cannot abide Twitter. I just cannot get on with it.
And that’s one of the problems. That was my 250-character limit right there. There is nothing you can do but be a smart arse (or plagiarise a smart arse) in 250 characters. It’s designed for people who only want the bare minimum of detail and have nothing more to say.
But the main problem is that there is just so much of it. I start reading, and an hour later I’ve read so many tweets but actually learnt nothing. It’s a bombardment of nothing - and so, so much of nothing.
The election when Trump won was one of the most depressing of recent years - it’s right down there with the worst of them, along with Brexit getting the (not very) popular vote and Jenny first appearing on The L Word. On the day Trump became President-elect, Twitter went crazy, with some 40 million tweets about the election. I couldn’t bear to watch any news at all that day, let alone read 40 million horrendously poor puns about orangeness and Top Trumps (UK only).
I have tried it. I do feature on Twitter, and every now and again I get a notification that some poor fool is eagerly awaiting my next tweet. But that tweet will never come. I went at it with some enthusiasm for the first few hours. I picked a photo to represent me and I spent a while trying to think of some exciting, meaningful, hilarious and topical inaugural tweet. Failed. Then I followed a few people and unfollowed them when I realised that they failed at writing decent tweets too. And now it’s like that empty shop on the high street. If you peer through the dirty windows of my Twitter account, you can just about see what I once sold, but now it’s just littered with unwanted post. It’s unlikely that the shop will ever be used again.
Having said all of that, my hard ice-cold Twitter heart melted slightly recently, and I found myself wondering if there were half-decent people Twittering after all.
A teacher concerned about one of her pupils wrote: “Sadly a little boy I teach, Charlie, who is also a dear family friend is sadly being bullied at school for his love of MT, being called gay, fat, stupid….the list goes on. Today he was beaten up by 6 boys and left curled up, crying.”
And then loads and loads of people responded with the most heart-warming videos and messages to make Charlie smile. Apparently, lots of these people are very famous in the world of MT (Musical Theatre. See, I looked it up so you don’t have to…), which made it incredibly special for Charlie, who deserves all the happiness he can get.
Bullying is an age-old problem, and we’ve so far failed to get any sort of grasp on how we get rid of it. But if social media can help those who are suffering bullying, at least that’s a step in the right direction. Even if it means I have to go onto Twitter to find out what it’s all about.
Many thanks to all you MT celebrities who came to Charlie’s aid.
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