I hesitate to write about Twitter because I’m aware, dear readers, that some of you won’t have a clue what it is or have any interest in it even if you do.
I understand, for I share this attitude – I am not a fan of social network sites.
Whereas my generation used to play outside in the fresh air and interact with others, today’s kids seem to sit alone at home on iPads or phones writing things like ‘goin 2 zoo wit Becky and Danielle, totes amaze’ or ‘egg for t 2night, cant wait, yum, lol’.
Dickens and Milton would turn in their graves.
Twitter, for the uninitiated, is a website where everyone from famous celebrities to your next door neighbour can write messages (in 140 characters or less) about any topic they like. And that’s it – it’s that simple.
A billion people use it – a seventh of the world’s population.
I am on it myself, though I didn’t want to be – it was forced on me by a previous editor of this newspaper.
At the time I was The Gazette’s Blackpool FC reporter and the editor summoned me to his office and told me I was the only football writer at a regional newspaper in Britain who wasn’t on Twitter.
He meant it as an admonishment but didn’t know me very well. Instead, I felt great pride that I had managed to resist it for so long, the same pride I felt at being the only person at university not to own a mobile phone. I don’t like modern stuff and never have.
In fact, I remember the first time Mrs Canavan suggested we have an inside toilet. I was incandescent with rage. Next she’ll be suggesting we get electricity.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was forced to go on Twitter and, though there is much about it I dislike (especially those people who can’t go more than five minutes without having a look at it or posting a message), one great thing is how it has acted as a platform for some talented individuals who would never otherwise have got their voices heard.
For example, a middle-aged housewife in America was idly watching daytime television recently when the phone rang and, presumably much to her surprise, she found herself speaking to a big-shot Hollywood executive who offered her $50,000 to add some jokes into a film script.
He’d contacted her solely because he thought the observations she posted on Twitter were so funny.
And it’s true – there are some very intelligent and witty people out there.
As proof, here are some posts I’ve come across In the last week, all written by totally unknown folk:
1. Just met someone else who doesn’t know what a globe is. It’s a small world.
2. A man holds a hairdryer to your ear – what happens next will blow your mind.
3. The day my son was born, I planted a tree in our backyard and now, 18 years later, that tree hates me.
4. My dad was part of a commando raid during WWII. It’s great that he fought the Nazis but couldn’t he have worn underwear?
5. I often sleep with one eye open. He’s my Native American boyfriend.
6. I’ve found the best way to learn your co-workers’ names is by eating their food in the office fridge.
7. Watched Gladiator with Russell Crowe today. Disappointing. He talked all the way through and didn’t share his popcorn.
8. The Snowman is still my favourite Christmas story about an inanimate object given sentient life who abducts a young boy so they can party,
9. Is it just me or does everything smell like the inside of my nose?
Not bad eh, and proof that social network sites aren’t all bad ... just spare me the posts about what you’re having for tea.
Oliver can certainly hold his drink...
Take a bow Oliver Struempfel.
I daresay you’ve not heard of him – not least because he lives in Germany, so you’re unikely to have bumped into him – but that’s a shame because he deserves recognition.
Struempful (I like that name, it sounds like ointment for athlete’s foot) has broken the world record for pint glass carrying, managing to walk 30 metres with 27 full pints of beer in his hands.
Twenty-seven. How has he done that? The most I’ve ever carried is five – two in each hand, with one pint wedged precariously in the middle.
Even that’s risky. The slightest accidental knock in a crowded pub and it’s game over.
“It’s serious stuff,” a delighted Struempful told a local news stations after his feat. “I have to go to the gym five times a week.”
Which, given what he’s a record holder in, sounds daft.
Until you see the footage of him carrying the pints that is, and realise that you need muscles the size of a small town to lift that many full beer glasses.
So well done, Mr Struempful, who now, presumably, is the most in-demand barman on the planet.
Just think, he can serve in one trip more drinks than most waiters can manage in six.
Oliver, I salute you.