The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Twitters
Posted Monday, 4 May 2009 at 19:59

There are new tweeters joining the list of, err, twitters by the day.

 

In discussion over lunch today the conclusion was reached that twitters use twittering, by and large, to moan and complain. It’s a virtual gnashing of the teeth, or beating of the chest. A cyberspace ‘well I never’.

 

When it’s not even that interesting the majority of twittering is mundane to the point of ‘ who in the name of Bill Shankley cares’?

 

I exclude from this observation those who use twitter to enhance their existing online presence and do restrain my comments to the individual twitterer. I suppose I should exclude people like Sarah Palin from this observation also. We all know that it is highly un-likely she writes her own twitters, gaffes being totally impermissible even when the race for the White House is four years off.

 

A friend showed me his twitter ‘feed’ this weekend. A cure for insomnia if I ever saw one. Did I really want to know what three hundred followers made of the film ‘In The Loop’. One opinion would do. I have absolutely no interest in knowing that someone had to take a roast dinner around to her grandmother’s house on behalf of her parents whilst visiting on Sunday. A lovely, personal family thing to do. But share it with five hundred people? I think not.

 

Twittering has to be a symptom of a dysfunctional society. You know the one I’m talking about; when people don’t talk to, care about, help, consider or even interact with each other anymore. A survey last week found that the average Briton has three good friends. That’s the dysfunctional society I’m talking about. The one where it seems to me people are creating their own online virtual communities and friends.

 

Three good friends will be down to one in ten years as a whole generation of children who should have been kicking a ball around and building dens, take to the streets and discover that they don’t know how to cope, lacking the ability to share or socially interact. Largely due to spending their childhood on an X box or a lap top. Maybe twitter is where they will turn to for comfort.

 

At my daughters birthday party this week 60 good and close friends turned up. People she has known since nappies, playgroup, school and university. She doesn’t twitter to any of them. She may spend hours running up her phone bill, but at least she and her friends still know how to talk to, care for and laugh with each other. She was disappointed only 60 could make it as another 20 or so are in various far flung places travelling.

 

 

Whilst psycho analysing twitter over lunch, we came up with some things you just wouldn’t dare twitter, ever, ever. Especially if you were an MP.

 

Unfortunately, although hysterically funny and almost necessitated the assistance of a Para Medic, due to an inhaled strand of spaghetti, I just can’t repeat any of them

 

Anyway, safe to say, I shan’t be joining the legions of twitters any day soon. I'll just stick to blogging and bore you all to death with that :)

 
 
 
Grumpy Old Man said:
Responded: Monday, 4 May 2009
Nadine. I completely agree with you. I wonder about Twitterers motives. Do they really believe that a minute-by-minute update on their mundane existance is rivetingly exciting? I'm glad that you're not joining the ranks of the Geeks' Geeks, and look forward to continuing with my cup of cocoa and your blog to settle me down each night.
 
 
Ross Grant said:
Responded: Monday, 4 May 2009
It is probably best you don't Twitter Nadine, because I think you have missed the point or don't undertand (which is a shame because if you did I think you would be well worth following). I have started having real & worthwhile discussions with people I would never have spoken to otherwise because of Twitter. Some of these have developed into face-to-face meetings, but some which haven't are still valuable (Dr Alan Cann, microbiologist at Leicester Uni on swineflu for instance @AJCann). I facilitated a meeting last week of people brought together via Twitter (thanks to @caffeiebomb & @jamiepotter)about the future of Leicester. Twitter is a communication tool. It is as good as the network of people you link into and how you use it. You can just listen to Wossy and mini blog your menu for dinner but that is like having a computer and only playing solitaire.
 
 
mdhughes said:
Responded: Monday, 4 May 2009
In what way is your blog more meaningful, deep, or personally connected to anyone? Twitter is about conversations. Blogs are about publishing all alone, with minimal feedback.
 
 
Matt said:
Responded: Monday, 4 May 2009
I'm afraid I'm entirely guilty of being a twitterer, although only once or twice a day, and certainly not about my roast chicken activities. I was recommended to twitter by a high-profile Tory blogger and I'm not sure I agree with what you say I'm afraid. I think twitter is not, for the majority of people I follow anyhow, a replacement for social interaction, it's an addition, an enhancement. As a case study, Iain Dale twitters fairly often. What does he tell us? Well, mostly what he's doing: a radio show, or a tv show, or that he's just read X etc. No chicken antics, and just a moderate insight into the political life he leads. then people like Tom Harris MP make observations, and link to their blogs, which gives them exposure, and only aids their fans, doesn't bore them. All in all, I'm definately a fan of twitter, in moderation. People like Jonathan Ross tweeting every 3 seconds do get on my nerves.
 
 
NJ said:
Responded: Monday, 4 May 2009
Nadine, I think you may have missed the point. Twitter is really just a shorter form of blogging. And it depends on what you use it for - just like blogging. Sure, there are idiots who post about about their dinner etc...but as Ross Grant says, it has many other uses & is a great communication tool. I recently joined, & I receive my media & politics updates via Twitter (using the service Twirl). The Telegraph, Sky, BBC, the Times, the Guardian, all update, as do many fine conservative blogs, such as Ian Dale, Conservative Home, Weekly Standard etc. By getting these instantly, it saves time emailing articles back & forth to like-minded friends, or constantly looking up RSS feeds & different blogs/websites - which is too time consuming. And you are not obligated to post drivel like those idiot MP's who 'tweet' from the House of Commons. You should try it - especially since you have a blog. It's quick, easy & suprised a cynic like myself.
 
 
DATMAN said:
Responded: Monday, 4 May 2009
I, too, agree wholeheatedly. I do not understand the need to espouse several hundred words of mindless chatter. Additionally, I do not find your blog boring. If anything, I find it enlightening. It shows me how the government of another country functions, or at times, does not function. Please keep up the good work and by all means, keep blogging. Your friend in America
 
 
Dave Cross said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
All human communication is 95% dross, so it's no surprise that Twitter is the same. The secret, therefore, to getting something useful out of Twitter is to a) follow people who have a higher than average signal to noise ratio and b) learn to ignore the stuff that bores you. Twitter just another new communication medium. It's as useful (or as useless) as the people who use it. All of your criticisms of Twitter could have been used against blogs five years ago. You may well have said similar things yourself - and yet here you are sharing largely trivial details of your life with complete strangers. You'll be using Twitter (or some similar system) within two years. To see the MPs who already think it's a useful part of their communication toolbox, take a look at Tweetminster - http://tweetminster.co.uk/
 
 
Jamie S said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
You're entirely right Nadine. Don't ever join Twitter; you can't be too careful can you? While we're at it, you may as well stop blogging too, boring and mundane as it is. As for those 'telephones': equally pointless. People just whittering on and on about being on the train or talking to their friends about all manner of banal rubbish. Who wants to know? I say stop innovation in communication right now before we all forget how to talk to each other.
 
 
Nick said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
I agree with Jamie S. But can't we also get rid of that ghastly Internet/email too? And what about TVs, radio and the gramophone (the scourge of society if you ask me). And don't even get me started on morse code...
 
 
TJR said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
An insightful post, thank you Nadine. First off, I must get off my chest the issue of the "XBox/laptop" comment. This is a bit Daily Mail, isn't it? Swathes of teenagers wasting their lives in front of screens developing into socially retarded zombies? Come on. I love video games. I also love being social and spent much of my child split 50/50 between the then Xbox equivalent (they don't make them like the Amiga anymore) and kicking the preverbial ball around. In fact I'd say I'm better off from my interest in video games a child as the friends I obtained as a result were sufficiently geeky that my interests in more high-brow topics were piqued. Most of my friends who were also on my school sports team now think a good weekend involves downing poor quality alcohol very quickly and bringing it back up just as fast. Moving on to Twitter, I think you're both right and wrong. As some of the comments here have highlighted, Twitter can be used as valuable social networking tool. However this is not for the most part what it is used for. Like Facebook what it comes down to is its use for banal vanity. People often don't realise that no one cares what they think about the weather/the funny thing the cat just did, etc etc. This tidal wave of dismal dross swallows up and drowns out the real quality material, unless those Twittering are ruthless with those they follow.
 
 
Nick said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
TJR, I tend to agree. But accusing Nadine of being a bit "Daily Mail"? Surely not. The accusations you make about Twitter are probably fair, but then the same can be said about every medium of communication; whether it be TV, Radio, the Internet in general... And Nadine, come off it; you're not exactly one to shy away from blogging on the less riveting aspects of life (including your personal life): In a post entitled "Chocolate Muffins" "Posted Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 21:27 This is sooo [sic] good. Pop in the microwave for 5 seconds before eating. Yummy!! [sic]" Or maybe: "Sleep" "Posted Wednesday, 15 April 2009 at 00:15 Took over .... more later :}" Or what about: "Mother's Day" "Posted Sunday, 22 March 2009 at 19:24 2 softly boiled eggs with soldiers in bed. ( the jokes have all been done) 3 wonderful daughters taking me out for supper. 5 goals at Anfield. Does it get any better? :)"
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
So what if some Twitter folk are boring? I'm not going to bother going over the whole "but it's the same as blogging only more interactive" point again (though it's a good one and worth noting), I just can't fathom why people being dull is such a terrible indictment of Twitter as a whole. Firstly, people mostly are dull. Secondly, you only choose to follow people you DON'T find dull - that's the whole point. People don't go on there because they think they're more interesting than everyone else but because a mixture of idle chat, business networking, friendly banter and funny observation makes the world go around, and it's interesting (and sometimes profitable) to be a part of it.
 
 
Andy Wise said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Is Twitter 'a symptom of a dysfunctional society' or people finding their own voice in a dysfunctional society? Surely it's up to our politicians to find a positive way to harness all of the public feedback in order to improve society rather than dismiss Twitter as trivial and impersonal as you are suggesting.
 
 
Documentally said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
The reason why this blog post has more hits/readers than anything you have ever done before is not because you are are saying anything intelligent.. it's because someone tweeted it..
 
 
George Nimeh said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Negativity will get you places in politics, but not with digital where positive experimentation and communication is the hallmark of success. Twitter is just one of many many ways of connecting people in conversations. It is a shame you're so adverse to innovation, as that's what government should be facilitating, not thwarting. @iboy
 
 
ed Hart said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Social media - is two words, media as in internet, and social as in sociable. In the same way there are those who abuse the telephone and postal system, there are those who don't use Twitter appropriately. However, as with all forms of communication, it can be powerful and profitable - ask Barack Obama if I haven't convinced you! I use it for my work (www.yourfbs.co.uk) and it works.
 
 
Andy Wise said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Is Twitter 'a symptom of a dysfunctional society' or people finding their own voice in a dysfunctional society? Surely it's up to our politicians to find a positive way to harness all of the public feedback in order to improve society rather than dismiss Twitter as trivial and impersonal as you are suggesting.
 
 
Curly said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
So, if you won't Tweat then you will miss out on a potential market of new blog readers via Twitterfeed. Hang on a minute, didn't I get here without using Twitter?
 
 
FlossieT said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
"In discussion over lunch today the conclusion was reached that twitters use twittering, by and large, to moan and complain." I disagree strongly with this: Twitter is one of the most constructive and positive online sites I belong to. People are constantly having problems solved with recourse to its 'hive mind'. And you don't have to listen to the people who just talk about toast: I pick up a huge amount of breaking news relevant to the industry in which I work from Twitter. It's about conversation and communication, and as commenters above have said, your post misses the point.
 
 
Nicholas Butler said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
I felt it easier to blog a response, since twitter didnt allow me enough space http://www.loudmouthman.com/2009/05/05/twittering-has-to-be-a-symptom-of-a-dysfunctional-society/
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
so instead you'll just bore us with updates of more than 140 characters? you criticise twitter when people use it to rant about things and express their opinions to people they don't necessarily know, yet this is essentially what you've just done with your blog post. well done. you have completely missed the point.
 
 
Geoff said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Are these problems that you imagine something worth solving, or are you content to boast about how rich and wonderful your life is, and how very wrong we all are?
 
 
Keith Badham said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Woosh....That was the sound of someone missing the point hugely!!! To Blog, To Twitter, to stand as an MP....? All decent enough choices, but sadly, most of us end up with very little to say...
 
 
FergusStrathdee said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
We ‘the blogger’s’ do not have the right to judge Ms Dorries; Only her electorate have the right to do that, and they will do so, with a vengeance at the next general election. It is her own business if she has a ‘clipped’ accent, and if she is prone to malapropisms, and making the occasional ‘faux pas’. Nobody has the right to forbid another person from being supercilious. If, Ms Dorries, from working class Liverpool does not speak like; John Lennon, Cilla Black, Julie Walters or the poet Roger McGough that is her business. There is a good reason for this; it is called; jumped-up blatant snobbery and makes her sound very foolish. Look what happened to Mrs Thatcher with her ‘clipped’ accent. As time went on, she sounded like a fool, acted like a fool, and became a fool. No one likes insincerity. John Reid did the same thing with his; Dr Reid nonsense. People just laughed at him, and he never knew. From what I read, Ms Dorries, she is unlikely to have insight about anything.
 
 
Phil Hoare said:
Responded: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
What on earth is twitter? Judging by many of the previous comments it must be some sort of haven for twits. Why doesn't someone take their wretched computers (and mobile phones) away from them for 90% of the time and force them out into the real world.
 
 
Nick de Bois said:
Responded: Thursday, 7 May 2009
Twittering as a link to support active web sites as you say, is no bad thing and that is the principal use in my case. However,it works for updates on good stories ( and unfortunately rubbish stories as well) and is, if used properly a good weapon in the communications tool...but,unfortunately there is loads of dull twittering out there including a recent one I had...." Going to party, will twitter from there.." followed by, "in corner, glass of wine, good to be here". The mind boggles, and guess what, he is blocked now -:)
 
 
mark said:
Responded: Thursday, 7 May 2009
Twitter is like a mass mailout to the anonymous egotists. Kind of like a pointless chain letter for the modern age. Blogging can be purposeful, and a way of getting your message (whatever that may be) out there. Admittedly, it can also be pointless egotist drivel, but there can be something cathartic in a blog, whereas twitter is one step too far down the road of pointless communication.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Thursday, 7 May 2009
I've never read a book, and I've decided never to bother. I went to a friend's house and looked at his bookshelf. I didn't like any of the books, so I've decided that books are generally a bad thing.
 
 
Deborah Harrison said:
Responded: Saturday, 9 May 2009
Funnily enough I manage to use Facebook and Twitter AND use more traditional ways to interact with my friends and family. But then the criticism is rather pot and kettle coming from someone who updates her blog sometimes twice in one day.
 
 
 
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at: nadine.dorries.mp@parliament.uk
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

 
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