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My Twitter revolution

I never thought it would happen – how Twitter came into my life
ON the eve of last year’s Open Championship a small group of journalists congregated at Royal Cinque Ports. The first reason for this coming together was free food and refreshments, a constant throughout the week and a guarantee to pull in the numbers.

Generally, at the start of these evenings, there would follow some chat over ‘how things are’ and ‘any nice trips recently?’ before discovering when you arrived and are subsequently going home, who’s going to win – yes I like Westwood, too – and, if things are really going slowly, your top three courses.

Yet these six, of whom only two had met, were straight into a bit of leg-pulling and, before long, a bit of gentle abuse.

The reason for this was Twitter, a world which I had deliberately kept away from, a cyber world which I now inhabit for great chunks of the day.

In short I thought it was a young man’s game, there was no substance to anything – both Tiger and Natalie Gulbis have retired at some point according to some ‘very good sources’ – and it was just a hobby horse for attention-seeking bores.

In truth I’m still to be convinced about the last bit. In previous years I’ve relied solely on Facebook to inform me how good someone else’s life is, what the weather is like where they live, a picture from their holiday balcony and a general update on their mood – perm two from any of tired, happy, sad, busy or, quite possibly, angry. Occasionally followed by a ‘grrr!’.
All of which leaves a whopping 40% in the No. 1 spot, and the reason for my most time-consuming hobby, pointless babble.
Now I can do all this via the Tweet Deck or the Twittersphere though with the kicker that these aren’t even my friends, acquaintances or someone I went to school with 30 years ago.

These are the people I, or I should say @ncgmagazine, follows. These are the people whose little nuggets I can’t help but obsess about just before going to sleep, and then again once the shutters have come back up.

I want to know who is injured, whose bags have gone missing, who is self-deprecating and particularly amusing (Luke Donald), who eats with who on a Wednesday night in Qatar and, give me a picture, any picture, and I’ll be sure click on it.

The fact that 90 per cent of the pictures are of someone sitting on their settee or a new pet is by the by.

I’m not particularly proud of admitting that this is what generally makes me tick but this is what it has come to.

It’s addictive, it’s got me in its grasp and the beauty of it is that it takes approximately two minutes to catch up on eight hours of new tweets which generally involve 90 people saying exactly the same thing – Great win by (insert player’s name), richly deserved #golf.

For those who aren’t aware of what a # is, this is a hashtag. No, I didn’t know either. From what I understand of it this is added to bump yourself up in search engines.

Or, more cynically, and more likely – a chance to show off eg Just won the Midweek Medal by 12 shots #firsttimeforeverything #everydogandallthat.

So, in one fell swoop you have informed your Tweeps, a clever conjunction of Twitter and Peeps, that you have just hammered everybody out of sight but softened the blow with a self-deprecating #.

Though we all know that you’re still just boasting.

So what has happened to texting in the brave new Twitter world and why now are people carrying out conversations, via the Tweet Deck, with their loved ones and work colleagues?

The banal nature of this beast means you can normally go from the top of any list of messages and make perfect sense of them though, when two players are making arrangements to meet up in an hour’s time in some far-flung hot spot in front of your very eyes, you somehow find yourself scrolling down to the start of the conversation.

And then question what exactly you are doing with your life.

A study in the States separated 2,000 tweets into six categories: News 3%, spam 4%, self promotion 6%, pass-along value 9%, conversational 38%.

All of which leaves a whopping 40% in the No. 1 spot, and the reason for my most time-consuming hobby, pointless babble.

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