Letter from the editor: Twitter update

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The Independent Online

Twitter update. Followers: 1700. Tweets: 23. Time spent on Twitter when I could have been doing something more rewarding: unknowable.

One thing I have learnt since joining Twitter: that Piers Morgan and Alan Sugar seem to spend most of their time engaged in the elelctronic version of playground taunts. Things I have shared with the world: that I was once sacked over lunch; that Alan Sugar is the only peer on the network who uses his title, and that agreeing with much of what Michael Winner and Kelvin MacKenzie say is a sign of incipient old age.

I’ve made some new friends and reconnected with some old ones, but I can’t say it’s changed my life yet. It’s good to know what Richard Bacon - or even Gary Neville - is thinking, and, of course, as a short cut to discovering some of the more interesting corners of the net, it’s very useful indeed.

But I have found myself wondering these past few days: what is actually the point of Twitter? One definition of twitter is “a short burst of inconsequential information”, but it has become much more than that. Some information on Twitter is anything but inconsequential, as we have just seen from the case of Ryan Giggs, which has caused a legal and constitutional crisis.

So what drives those who tweet: self-publicity? narcissism? self-importance? Or a desire to share information and observations with like-minded souls? Probably, all of the above. It’s diverting and informative - want to know what Dom Joly’s up to? Only one place to go - but I can’t help wondering, in a Grumpy Old Man meets King Canute kind of way, were we richer or poorer as people before Twitter was invented? I’ll leave you to answer that question on your own. In the meantime, I must find out what’s on Sarah Brown’s mind. Tweet, tweet!