diamond geezer

 Saturday, December 10, 2016

Blimey, it's ten years since I joined Twitter.

I got in early. Not as early as some, but still early enough to be user number 54943, and for this to be one of the first million tweets.

Concerned that this might be pointlessly addictive.
posted by diamondgeezer [10:15 AM Dec 10th, 2006]

I fear I nailed it on that very first tweet.

My next was more mundane.

Having a nice cup of tea
posted by diamondgeezer [11:10 AM Dec 10th, 2006]

Everything was more mundane on Twitter in those days, the general idea being to tell a handful of followers what you were doing. That soon changed.

Along came links, and replies, and pictures, and adverts, and Twitter became less about what people had to say for themselves and more about what they'd seen other people say.

Twitter is now full of people noticing stuff and bringing it to your attention. It's full of people commenting on stuff and hoping you agree. It's full of carefully crafted marketing collateral obligingly retweeted. It's full of people showing off what they're doing so all their followers will be impressed. It's full of people chatting, often hidden from sight, but forgetting they're doing it entirely in public. It's full of happiness and joy, but also trolls and hate. And all in 140 characters or less.

Worryingly it's also created millions of filtered bubbles offering only opinions with which we already agree. Along with Facebook it may have helped to polarise society and deliver electoral shock. It is both brilliant and dangerous.

I'm a big fan. But then I'm not a particularly typical Twitter user.

Since starting out ten years ago I've tweeted less than 3000 times. That might sound a lot, indeed it's an average of one tweet every 30 hours, but most regular users are tweeting a heck of a lot more than that. I know this because I've checked all the people I follow on Twitter to see how often they tweet. The average is 8 times a day, not once, which means most of these people have tweeted tens of thousands of times since joining up. I'm not typical, I'm almost mute, because I'm not offering a running commentary on my life.

Since starting out ten years ago I've gained over 7000 followers. This is indeed a lot, indeed it's an average of more than two a day, which seems ridiculous for someone who doesn't tweet a lot. I actually have more followers than tweets, which for an unverified tick-free account is quite rare. And OK, so about a third of my followers turned up in the aftermath of the post-Leave Romford skinhead t-shirt debacle in the summer, which isn't exactly proper. But I am duly honoured by that total, and blimey.

I only follow 80 people. This is ridiculously low, I've discovered, again by comparing myself to all the people I follow on Twitter. Most of them follow over 400 different accounts, often well over, and a quarter of them follow more than 1000. This means that every time they log in they're simply dipping into a stream, and much of what their followers tweet passes by unseen. I'm very much not typical because I make sure I read every single thing my 80 people tweet. It is a very carefully curated list.

In total, 58 of the 80 people I follow follow me back, which is nice. Ten of the 80 were on Twitter before I was, and 50 joined before the site got really popular in 2009. Less than ten of them are nationally famous, which I suspect is a lower celeb-total than most. I've met 30 out of the 80 in person, which isn't bad, and been in the same room as another eight. More to the point there's at least another ten I'd really like to meet but never have, which just goes to show how disconnected from the real world this echo chamber of Twitter acquaintances really is.

I don't 'like' tweets much. I've only 'liked' about two tweets a month since I started, but then it turns out 'liking' is a variable thing. Several people never 'like' anything, while others 'like' stuff all the time as a silent way to show agreement, not simply appreciation. One person I follow has 'liked' 114000 tweets, which is an average of 30 a day, but hell why not, because it's free. I doubt I'd ever get on with Facebook, I don't 'like' enough.

But mostly, like I say, I don't tweet much. In particular I very rarely tweet what I've blogged. Most bloggers announce every fresh post with a tweet, because it's a great way to tell people there's something new to read. I don't do that, because I assume you've worked out by now that if it's 7am there's probably something new to read. If I had tweeted every fresh post since December 2006 I'd have tweeted an extra 4470 times, but I decided against because I thought it might have drowned out all the other stuff. So today, let's change that...

Ten years since I joined Twitter, I've started up a new Twitter account. It's specifically for tweeting when there's a new diamond geezer post to read, indeed that's all it'll ever do. It's called @diamondgzrblog, it's started up already, and you're very welcome to follow it.

How it works is clever. It checks my RSS feed every few minutes, and if a new post appears it tweets a tweet. Only the title of the tweet is included, which might be rather brief and uninformative. But each tweet also includes up to four pictures from the post, if there are any, and this might give a bit more of a flavour. It won't be pretty - the intention is not to create a carefully crafted promotional tweet, merely to issue a notification. Also I fear a lot of you will be asleep when it slips forth, but hey, it's better than nothing, and someone might just retweet it later.

And if you follow @diamondgzrblog then I can get on with tweeting not very much not very often on @diamondgeezer. I'll carry on attempting quality over quantity, and hope that this continues to work out. And whilst Twitter may one day evolve into a useless flabby platform wrecked by ill-judged features, let's hope it doesn't, and I'll still see you on there in another ten years' time.

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