Sunday, 13 June 2010

Walking away in jerks

This morning, I faced up to something that has been on my mind for some time. I decided that enough was enough and deleted my account at the social networking site Twitter. Or, more accurately, the social not-working site.

The site seems to have a complete inability to organise itself such that one may rely on a working connection. It goes on and off like a flickering light bulb or gets so much traffic that it overloads and one is directed to wait and try again later. I had likened the site as something like a pub. One goes in, asks for a pint and gets served. I cannot imagine a pub where one cannot rely on opening or closing time and where one is basically told to wait whilst a drink is produced. We cannot be talking rocket science. My son writes software for banks and dealing houses. These will draw feeds from any number of sources and the displays will update all the time. That is rocket science. Once one has something to say, one wants to have some assurance that those polished thoughts, those gems of vocabulary, will get to a waiting world so that the next flawless contribution may be started. Repeated Try Again Laters to a status update to not satisfy.
The pub analogy is applicable to another source of discontent - not directly the fault of Twitter In Chief but no less annoying than the outages and brown-outs. It concerns this social networking claim. If I am standing at the bar of my local pub and make some comment or observation. I can rely upon an answer. Dissent, agreement or refinement of my little droplet. No one would use a hostelry where it was almost guaranteed that no one would connect with my input. Still less would one stay where the only conversation would come in the form of "did you see that" where there is no indication of what 'that' might be.
Last night's football was a case in point. No one seemed able to set up any two, three or four way conversation. It was as if each twitter were a commuter passing by a busker - they might toss 5P into his cap but there would be no involvement. No interchange. No sign of life. When I commuted in London some years back there was a guy on one of the underground passages that was a quite superb violin player. So good that one day I stopped and had about 15 minutes of a personal classic concert. We nodded, then progressed to Good Night/Morning and I asked for a particular piece which he played. Our intercourse got such that two or three others joined me for a brief respite from the hamster wheel of commuting. We ganged up onto any jobsworth inspector. Our entertainer dropped out somewhere and one of the impromptu audience confirmed he had found regular employment as a session musician. That was social networking.
Some - indeed, the majority, of my posts were written and addressed to those I thought would respond. Oh, and LOL stuff is not a response in my book. I thought that if others saw the two of use passing the ball between us, they also would come in for a bit of a kick around. It never happened. I played the #ff game despite outwardly doubting what it did; in my case - nothing. Follow and Following was another area of disappointment when it came to generating traffic. I would get Following notifications from people whose profile showed they had no followers, were following a considerable number of others and had only ever written one tweet. What is social about that? Why were these people allowed to draw oxygen from the site?
All the while this was going on, I was posting to a Army forum where activity was frenetic. Any opinion was torn asunder in that special blend of insult and humour that comes from service life. If there was nothing said about the post then one could rely upon an analysis of one's birth, life and all too far away death. I could go there any hour of the day or night and there would always be someone leaning on the doorpost looking for contact.
So, I have resigned my account. This not only cuts me off but expunges all my contributions. Given the mediocre return on these gems, I do not feel a sense of loss. I'll confine myself to communicating with those with whom I share a real bond - making snide remarks and winding people up.

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