Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

August 12, 2011

Why Twitter makes me feel like the designated driver

Twitter - it's a bit like Marmite isn't it - some people love it, others hate it. I'm not sure.

The general idea is excellent - say what you want to say, but keep it short - a '140 character rule' which seems to produce plenty of witty, savvy, interesting nuggets of information. I've actually learnt a lot through Twitter - mainly stuff about Victorians in London or how to go about writing a novel - and I've also learnt some stuff I didn't really need to know - like someone telling the world they felt sick after eating too much Green & Blacks chocolate and someone else sharing the joyous news that they needed to cut their toenails. Bleurgh.

The trouble with Twitter is that it never stops. Twitter never switches off and if, like me, you dip in and out of Twitter while you're waiting for the kettle to boil, this can lead to a constant sense of being 'out of the loop', of not being fully involved in the conversation, of not really getting the 'in jokes' and wondering what everyone is LOL'ing about all the time.

Glancing at Twitter on a Friday night can be a particularly bad idea if you haven't been keeping up all day. I see responses to Tweets which don't make any sense because I didn't see the start of the conversation. I see 'trending topics' about making up new movie titles which I don't get and 'hashtag' comments which #messwithmyheadbecauseittakesmeagestounjumbleallthewordswithoutanyspacesbetweenthem.

In short, browsing Twitter on a Friday night makes me feel like the designated driver at a brilliant party where everyone else is getting merrily drunk on wine (mostly), while I sit quietly in the corner wondering what time it is, or stand on the edge of a group of people who keep laughing REALLY LOUDLY at something hilarious, but I didn't quite catch the joke because the music is too loud.

Sometimes, someone might stop to have a quick chat with me, although I can't help feeling they're looking over my head or over my shoulder to check whether anyone more interesting just walked in. Occasionally, I might pick up a tray of canapes to hand around in an attempt to butt in on some of the conversations, but for the most part I sip my glass of fizzy water and jangle the car keys in my pocket and wait for a reasonable time until I suggest that we make tracks home.

And I'm rubbish at doing the Follow Friday #FF thingy - it's not that I don't enjoy lots of the Tweets of the people I follow and would love to share them to the Tweeting world, it's just that it takes bloody ages to get everyone's Twitter name right and my kids aren't all that patient and usually want a drink or a wee or the jigsaws getting out of the toy box with the very heavy lid which they're not allowed to open on their own.....

So, in short, although I'm 'fond' of Twitter, I don't think I'd want to go out with it or form any sort of committed relationship with it. For now, I think I'll keep lurking in the background and listening to the music and eating the mini quiches until I drive safely home and fall into bed knowing that the party will carry on way into the night - with, or without me.



  1. Hee hee, great post. I have the exact same feeling with twitter. And if you tweet something and no one replies it's like those times you say something at a party but the person you speak to hasn't heard you and starts talking to someone else they consider far more interesting. Maybe we could hang around in the kitchen together? I was always a kitchen person at parties.

  2. Brilliant post! I feel exactly the same. I just don't get twitter at all. Been trying to use it this week as people say it drives traffic to your blog.

  3. Great post. I feel the same way, especially because I'm 6 hours behind the UK so everyone's on the wine while I'm still thinking about dinner! I don't have it up all the time, so that I'm not Tweeting while trying to do other things.
    I have found it really useful in finding information and keeping up with news though.

  4. Oh I am a total twitter convert, but like you I don't have that much time to spend on it. It's for breaking news and stories from around the world that you'd never find out any other way and for observing fascinating conversations even if you can't join in and for laughs and surprises. Basically twitter stops me being bored and as I have kids with special needs and lots of appointments and other boring stuff, twitter makes my life a lot more entertaining xx

  5. Twitter seems to me to be a vessel for people to plug their wares. I think 80% of my timeline is spam.

  6. Oh me too...I try. I get overwhelmed. I lurk. I don't get the hash tag thing. I worry that I don't know the ettiquette. But I keep going back for more...

  7. For me the dip in/drop out element is what makes Twitter great for me, I dip in and out during the day when I have a few minutes and its sort of like a quick element of sanity in and amongst the maddness at work

    And so I guess I embrace that its always going to have stuff going on that I haven't seen or am involved in

    And Friday nights - well, I tend to chat to friends only then so it doesn't feel so strange (and then sometimes I go wild and pick up the phone!)

  8. Great post and agree entirely. Though sometimes I get far too involved and after consuming the mini quiches and telling myself it's time to leave I drink one too many and end up doing a one night stand with Twitter..... all night. Hate myself the next day though! xxx

  9. Now this is exactly why I don't Twitter. It's that thing of having to be available all the time to it. With blogging, you can leave the screen, and go back when you want, do as much or as little as you like. But it feels like Twitter needs you to be there almost all the time, surgically joined to your electronic device.

    I'll join you for an orange juice and sparkling mineral water in the corner.


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