Deborah Ross: Things that Twitter has taught me

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, and now I've given it a week or so, I will tell you what I have learnt about Twitter. I have learnt that although I am now more popular than a photograph of someone's dinner, which is heartening, I am not more popular than a photograph of a street party in the drizzle, which is less heartening. I have learnt that, as a hack, it may not be acceptable to tweet: "Here's my column: oh no, sorry. It was awful. I'd skip it, if I were you... so far off the money it's not true." I have learnt that once you have sent a tweet, you are not meant to sit around staring at the screen, awaiting replies. I have learnt that it is highly competitive ("pick me, pick me, pick me!"). I have learnt that people tweet weddings and childbirth but not sex, although it is surely only a matter of time: "Oral sex has commenced. Going well. Meanwhile, my column: http://ink/ pn198m3. Also, interesting article on dumplings: http//edd/tyo378md."

I have learnt that a "re-tweet" is prized, and if your husband or boyfriend re-tweets someone else, it is considered a grotesque act of betrayal. I have learnt that gossip can become huge news – gigantic news!; the biggest news! – for nearly an hour. I have learnt that people are pleased Jemima Khan has joined this newspaper, even though it now means I am no longer the most beautiful woman in the office. (Janet Street-Porter feels similarly gutted, apparently.) I have learnt that hashtags are important, although have yet to understand why. (Do they, even, sometimes work like a wink? Interesting.) I have learnt that it sometimes feels like a school playground in which the cool kids won't play with you, just as the cool kids have never played with you. I have learnt that some people try too hard while some people don't try hard enough and the right balance is elusive. I have also learnt that it is OK to have the central heating on in June, because I tweeted: "Is it OK to put heating on? Husband always says 'do star jumps if you're cold' but he is away." I took the advice offered, which was overwhelmingly in favour of the heating, so I turned it right up to max and got so lovely and hot I stripped to my underwear, made pina coladas with little umbrellas in them, and may well file for divorce. So this is what I've learnt about Twitter so far, and here is my column on it, which I would not have recommended you read, but now you have. Sorry about that.

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