Keep Calm and Twitter On

Friday 12th was meant to be a day off. I had to go to the dentist in the morning, and I always take the whole day off because it’s just easier that way. Thursday night, The Sniffles started, and it all went downhill from there. My previous post will detail that for you.

Fast forward to today, the 18th.

I AM STILL ILL. I am so fed up of this I can’t even tell you. It takes a lot for me to take time off work, so believe me, this thing is a lot.

You see, I am a contractor, so being ill means using up our small sick day allocation, then holiday once you run out, then going unpaid after that. This is not helpful for a person who already has a stress exacerbated chronic illness but that’s the way it is. I won’t say it’s what I signed up for, because how the sick leave is worked out is a mystery to me, but that is the way it is. C’est la vie.

Being home alone with a non verbal cat does give you time to think though. Probably too much , in my case, but that’s a habit I’m never likely to break. Something struck me today as I wallowed about at home, feeling quite pitiful and more than a bit Sad Sack about things, wailing into the void on Twitter whilst prone in bed.

One of my friends answered a LazyWeb question of mine, then another, and another, giving kind, caring advice to what is, essentially, just a name on a web page.

Far be it from me, a lowly mortal, to oppose the likes of Stephen Fry (darling, I adore you, but really…) but I have to say that Twitter is a valuable resource for many, many people.

It enables me to be, and keep, in touch with hundreds of people. I can get an answer in seconds if I ask a question. I can watch the antics of people on the other side of the world, share a joke with someone in my town, and headbang along to a livetweet session of Metallica at Glastonbury with people all across the country. (Yes, we did that. It was AMAZING)

I have been shown photos from decades past,

Moonshine

FT

seen weather fronts rolling in across the sea as people film it, watched many kittens chase many bits of string, and gazed at beautiful things that people have cooked, and shared.

Cake

I can ‘talk’ to beloved chefs, even have a story ‘read’ to me in real time by one of my favourite authors, whilst I sit in bed feeling sorry for myself. Seen the inside of buildings on the other side of the world that I’ll never visit, and wept along with thousands when Bowie died, all of us feeling the same thing, sharing that loss with one another as we filled the internet with as many images and songs and sounds as we could, trying to affirm that it wasn’t really true, but knowing it was, and holding each other close in the only way we had open to us.

TheHunger

It has opened up paths to me that I never thought I’d have, met people that I simply wouldn’t have come across in my every day life, and whom I now consider to be some of my closest friends.

The everyday things are there too. Train times, travel updates, finding out where not to go, and where to go. It was a source of huge information during the London riots, and also a great way for criminals to out themselves by Tweeting selfies with their ill gotten gains.

Twitter is what you make it. You can be as loud, and out there, and as outspoken as you want. Or you can spend a few days just reading, and watching.

Of course it has its downsides. Everything does.

As easy as it is to be a platform for greatness, it can also be a platform for the underbelly, the Below The Line commenters, the trolls and the quite frankly psychotic women haters out there. This is as it is in life. Every person you meet can be a hidden criminal, or a murderer, or an angel, or a saint, or anything in between those things. You can even be Donald Trump or Kanye West, though please, I’ll not Follow you, if that’s ok.

All you can do – the only thing open to us to do – is block and move along. Disable notifications, stop reading for a few days, breathe, breathe, breathe…and then come back and poke your head around the door again. (I am aware there are serious cases of harassment, that have had police involvement, this is not about those.)

Stephen, all you had to do was say “Oh darlings! We’re great chums, it’s an in-joke, we’re all fine. Sorry it came out wrong sweeties.” but you didn’t. You reacted in such a way as to more or less provoke the backlash, and then were surprised you got your botty spanked.

It was a botty spanking by thousands of people, admittedly, but then thousands of people hear your voice. I do hope you return, but if you don’t, then I hope you at least feel all the better for it.

I’m not giving up on Twitter just yet. (Though I admit, I pray they don’t go the Facebook route, because that has become wholly unusable.)

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