As Guardian columnist Grace Dent releases her book How To Leave Twitter (and it’s revealed that we send the equivalent of a 10 million-page book’s worth of tweets every day), she explains why we all need Twitter in our lives...
“If you can’t see the joy in Twitter, then quite frankly you’re doing it wrong. Don’t come to me a boo-hooing my beloved Twitter is ‘full of twits’ and ‘just people twaddling about breakfast’ and then admit you’ve not so much as attached a photo to your account. Or that you’ve never followed any funny, clever, warm tweeters, then pitched in with a rollicking mass snark about Cher Lloyd’s new song, whether it’s ‘tights or bare legs weather’ and who needs to shut their cakehole on Question Time.
Twitter is like a mirror, whatever you show it, you’ll see reflected back in your timeline. If you’re sociable, chatty and warm you’ll amass hundreds, nay thousands of like-minded natterers, only too keen to dole out advice on how to revive a spider plant, which nail varnish doesn’t chip, or send you a YouTube clip of an obese cat from Russia jumping into a very small box.
"Life without Twitter feels very dull indeed. Like wading through glue, last in the loop."
I love Twitter as it never sleeps. While I type columns in the middle of the night as my British friends snooze, my newsfeed fills up with American tittle-tattle, TV reviews and breaking news. If you’re the nosey parker type, you soon realise that Twitter knows everything before you do, that’s why it’s so fiendishly addictive. With all Twitter users there is a definite tipping point between ‘not understanding’, then suddenly ‘getting it’ and then finally life without Twitter feels very dull indeed. Like wading through glue, last in the loop to know.
And yes, sure, Twitter has ranters, hecklers, braggers and dullards too, but that’s what the ‘Unfollow’ button is for. If a Tweeter raises your hackles, the splendid thing is one click and you can shoot them off into cyberspace. Boom, gone! If only the same could be said for the pub bore pulling up a bar stool to torture you with his views on fly-fishing or your Facebook chum from school with 345 pictures of her new baby, which she clearly cannot see resembles John Prescott.
Perhaps Twitter is for Twits, but I’m happy to be one of those 140-characters typing, backchatting chumps. If you’ve got anything to say to me, then tweet me.”
How To Leave Twitter: My Time As Queen Of The Universe by Grace Dent is out 21 July (£7.99). Follow Grace on @gracedent
Photographs: Chris Floyd