Thailand University Teacher Extraordinaire

The trials and tribulations of a young English teacher

The Twitter Experiment: Thoughts, Feelings and Occasional Ramblings

It’s been roughly a month since I joined up to the Twitter experience, and so far it has been an interesting emprise. At the beginning of my little experiment, I envisaged that I would perhaps log on to the site three or four times in the first two weeks before abandoning my account, never to return. I’m surprised and pleased that this hasn’t been the case.

More often than not, I find that when I log into my account, at least one of the dozen or so people I’m following has posted a link to an article or news story that I genuinely find to be interesting. Had I not signed up to the Twitter service, it’s extremely unlikely that I would have stumbled over many of these intriguing expositions myself. This has been most unexpected.

Before the experiment began, I suspected that less would very much be more, and for the most part that has been the case. Some members go overboard and churn out dozens of tweets a day. The result is that I tend to quickly scroll past their musings, which is a shame. There’s sometimes interesting content in one or two of their posts, but because it’s surrounded by so much dross, it’s easily overlooked.

A quick glance of my account reveals that I am currently following 18 people. Excluding the three fine people on Twitter that I know in real life, here are the members whose posts I enjoy the most.

Stephen Mangan @Stephen Mangan

Stephen Mangan is a comedian and actor that regularly appears on British television. Most of his tweets are one-liners or sarcastic comments that usually always raise a smile.

Dwayne Johnson @TheRock

I was a semi regular wrestling fan in my teenage years, and I thought it would be interesting to see what wrestler turned actor turned wrestler again The Rock tweets about. Often I see pictures of him with fans. The most moving photo I’ve seen is The Rock posing with a young boy that obviously has a dehabilitating disability and his family. The boy had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on his face, and I thought that it was very cool for The Rock to not only pose for the photo but to reply to the boy’s message on Twitter thanking him.

Stephen Fry @StephenFry

I reluctantly decided to follow comedian and self confessed Apple lover Stephen Fry a month ago, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the dearth of Apple related tweets and the abundance of thoughtful and humorous tweets.

And here are the dullards that haven’t been interesting to follow.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers @ChiliPeppers

They are my favourite band, but it appears that the vast majority of their posts are written by their music company. This DVD is out now – check it out, Pittsburgh show now sold out. Fascinating.

The Economist @TheEconomist

Far too many tweets every day mean that finding interesting content is a real chore. I’d much rather navigate their website and read the stories I’m interested in than read through their countless tweets. Sorry @TheEconomist, it’s not me, it’s you.

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Introducing The One Month Twitter Experiment

I’ve never been a fan of Twitter. Since I became aware of its inception, I’ve had an image of it being a place where people broadcast their every thought in text speak. I’ve seen the service constantly praised and lauded by news networks like the BBC and CNN, and I’ve grown sick of and disillusioned with the site without having experienced it myself.

I’m a person that doesn’t react well to constant hype about a product or service. If I’m constantly being told how amazing something is, my reaction is to go to great lengths to avoid it to prevent disappointment. The Harry Potter novels are probably the best example of this. I suspect that had I discovered the series myself, or had a single friend recommended the first volume to me, I would have had countless hours of enjoyment and lost hours of sleep over several nights as I convinced myself to read just one more chapter. Alas, it wasn’t to be. People from all walks of life seem to take great glee in selfishly revealing every major plot twist or revelation. I’m afraid I’ve reached the point where there are no surprises left, and the enjoyment I will get from the series will be a shadow of what it would have been had I discovered the books myself.

As well as excessive hype, I get irritated by empty buzzwords, which seem designed to ‘sex up’ something that is mediocre or pointless. When I hear one of these magical words, it’s almost as if a signal is sent to my brain telling it to shut down or brace for impact – there’s a huge dose of verbal diarrhea heading this way. Words like ‘tweets’ and ‘trending’ and ‘hash tags’ are usually mentioned in the same breath as Twitter, and they have so far added to my reluctance to join the site.

However, I’m going to give it a try. If I can be choosy with the users I follow and avoid turning my account into one big vanity project, it just might become a useful tool that I can get a lot of use and enjoyment from. On day one, I’ve decided to follow 15 accounts, which include…

Derren Brown – Psychologist and magician extraordinaire
Tim Harford – Economist and writer
Michael Moore – Film maker and activist
Richard Branson – Entrepreneur and explorer
Stephen Fry – Actor, author, groan, and Apple advocate
Eddie Izzard – Comedian and actor
Nottingham Forest Football Club – The biggest source of pain in my life

I’m going to avoid actively seeking out followers of my own, though people are free to follow me if they desire. I don’t foresee many meaningful tweets coming from my account though. You can find me here

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