You can follow me on Twitter... or can you?
By the time you read this, I may be on Twitter. Or not.
These easy access online forums are simple if you’re eight years old and computer literate. But I am 56 and still have buttons I dare not press because I don’t know what they do.
It took me years to find out how to create a “folder” on email and, having done so, I am still unsure what to put in it.
While computers offer us a world of information, if you’re looking for a friend’s address there’s nothing to beat a good old-fashioned address book. IMHO.
I also enjoy writing thank you notes in longhand. The almost forgotten art of correspondence cannot be adequately recreated on a computer. It’s not the same without a stamp, an envelope and a postman/woman crushing it through the letterbox, not to mention the additional fun of trying to decipher someone else’s handwriting.
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Only this week, I have had two letters forwarded to me from Kent because the Royal Mail deciphered Ipswich as Sandwich.
Did I tell you about the time I auditioned for a role and, having filled in the form in my fairly awful handwriting, got called in as “Miss Nicetimer”. Which is another story.
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An internet Twitter account allows you to post titbits of witty, perverse, confrontational, argumentative, flattering, sympathetic or mind-numbingly dull comments as long as you limit yourself to 140 characters, which is about one sentence.
As an example, this elegantly fashioned sentence, grammar included, comprises precisely 140 characters so you will have some idea of the extent of a maximum Twitter.
Being used to writing great slabs of text, I fear that such unaccustomed brevity could cause palpitations.
There are also some Twitter conventions that I shall need to assimilate.
For a start Twitter is not a verb. In joining this not-very-exclusive club, I shall not be twittering, I shall be tweeting and, following the logic, I assume I shall be a tweeter and not a twit... although this remains to be seen.
Having managed to register – at first I had a bit of trouble with my name – I am currently trying to assemble a profile. The picture was too big, the biography too small. Meanwhile I was invited to choose some Twitters to follow. It suggests 10 for a start.
I felt two would be enough for a tweeter of very little brain so I picked BBC breaking news and the comedian Peter Serafinowicz. In the case of the latter, it was a sympathy thing, really. The poor chap has 12 letters in his surname which, if he uses it in a Tweet, leaves him just 128 characters to play with.
After about 20 minutes I decided my Twittermates were far too verbal. I couldn’t keep up. Was this the shape of things to come. Would my every waking second be in thrall to Twitter?
I got rid of BBC breaking news and Peter Serafinowicz. I thought about Ken Livingstone then I stopped thinking about Ken Livingstone. What about my local MP? Er... not much of a tweeter, I think, so he would be ideal.
I couldn’t find Her Majesty The Queen but I thought I might try President Obama for a day or two until his tweet shared the gripping snippet of information: “Presenting the National Teacher of the Year Award at 11.45am ET.”
My name is not ET.
Then I had a brainwave. Perhaps my son, Mark, is on Twitter. A search of his full name found me a PR account manager from Manchester who spells ‘travelling’ with one ‘l’; an IT student who is passionate about music and technology; “PilatesMark”; a Spurs fan and cricket junkie who works in “insurance solutions”; a former army medic partial to frogs; a Christian musician; a packing supervisor whose girlfriend says he is too laid back for his own good; a juggler and yo-yoer; a small business owner who lives somewhere I’ve never heard of and many others.
My Mark wasn’t there unless he is tweeting undercover and, although I am intrigued by the idea of insurance solutions (I suppose that includes the solution ‘don’t biff the car’) I don’t think this is truly my sort of thing.
After scanning likely candidates for a couple of hours I hit upon my basic problem. I am incurably anti-social. I don’t want to follow anyone on Twitter. I am the antithesis of a stalker; I’m totally indifferent. This makes it almost impossible to be an effective member of the cyber generation who, via blogs, Facebook, websites and Twitter bare themselves to the world.
Even I am not especially interested in what I am doing at any particular time and when I eventually muster the energy to tweet, I suspect it will reach new depths of banality.
Not that this is going to stop me – it never has before.
No, I am determined to tweet and I have told my husband that he has to register and follow me because, when a man loves a woman this is the sort of sacrifice he must make.
In the meantime, I am considering shaving my big toes which are beginning to bristle up into what look like a pair of small nail brushes. It’s gripping stuff, isn’t it? Would this, I wonder, make for a good first tweet?