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Tweaking tweeting attitude

February 17, 2021

When I was working on Rum Do in 2009, Twitter was a fairly new thing. I’d heard of it, but never ventured anywhere near. Messages of 140 characters or less shot out into the ether by people who thought other people gave a shit about what they thought. The first time it really registered was during Obama’s state of the union address when, as one commentator noted, many Republicans were too busy tweeting trash about the speech to actually listening to it. How rude. (Although not as rude as the cretin who yelled “You lie!” during the speech.) I more or less wrote it off then (or perhaps it was when a mate who works at the Guardian told me that, in addition to writing stories, he now had to tweet about all of them), so no surprise that one of the characters in Rum Do dismissively pronounced that “TweetsR4Twats”.

That was pretty much my attitude for a long time, although I did set up a Twitter account in 2012, at the same time as creating this website, because I was informed that writers were expected to do so. The account was largely dormant for a long time, having attracted no fewer than 11 followers, all of whom were friends who’d taken pity on me. Somehow that number is now up to 42.

At some point I decided that, if I had the bloody account, I might as well start following some people who interested me – a few politicians, a few journalists, mostly writers.

I’ve already written about “stalking” Ian Rankin and occasionally even interacting with him. I know I’ve already mentioned how generous he is in promoting the work of other writers. That’s how I discovered Scottish writer Doug Johnstone, whose work I’ve come to love and who I also follow (and occasionally interact with). He’s also put me on to some good writers, including Helen Fitzgerald and Liz Nugent. (Actually, on second thought, it was Rankin who put me on to Nugent.) Following Adrian McKinty led to my discovery of Mick Herron, whom I absolutely adore. (Thank god he’s got a new novel coming out soon, as I hovered everything else of his up last year.) If Herron was on Twitter, I’d follow him, but he isn’t. (Wait a minute, I thought writers were supposed to be?) I still managed to track him down, though.

Why am I revisiting this today? Because yesterday when I opened the Twitter app on my tablet, I discovered something I’d posted on Sunday – the Valentine’s Day dinner pic and message – had attracted more likes than anything I’d ever posted before, more likes than I have followers. What the hell?

Then I realised I’d used @valmcdermid in the message (“You don’t need a Valentine to have an excellent Valentine’s Day dinner. You just need to have @valmcdermid with you.”), which had not only caused McDermid to clock the message but prompted her to retweet it. Ergo the scores of likes.

Pretty fucking cool, eh? Immediately started following McDermid and was rewarded just now with this photo she’d tweeted.

So, yes, I’ve decided Twitter ain’t that bad.  

From → Blog

One Comment
  1. Donna permalink

    Very fucking cool!

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