About a year ago I investigated Twitter. Everyone was saying how it's more popular than Facebook and not so full of crap, so I felt obliged to find out what all this Tweeting stuff was about and why it made inexplicable use of all those symbols on the keyboard that usually get ignored.
The site said I needed an account before I could gain access, which seemed fair enough because, let's face it, there doesn't seem to be a club in the land that doesn't have reams of red tape for a person to wade through before they'll let them through the door, just so they've covered their arse against any possible litigation arising from said newbie tripping over the 'Welcome' mat and damaging their pride.
Account created, I embarked upon what I hoped would be a voyage of discovery - a journey through the thoughts and ramblings of the rich and famous, and maybe even a few people I might know.
These hopes were quickly dashed when I found myself in a world of hashtags and assorted squiggles interspersed with bizarre encrypted comments that bore more likeness to the unintelligible texts of a three-thumbed teenager than any genuine attempt at useful communication.
Maybe I was missing something, but no matter how much I searched I couldn't find anything that made me feel like I had a reason to stay, and despite repeated attempts to make something of it over the course of a couple of weeks, I eventually came to the conclusion that it had nothing to offer me and I deleted my account.
Fast forward to today, and I'm thinking about this matter again - no idea why really, but it's probably just a symptom of the boredom generated by waiting in the house for a courier to turn up.
I know some people who use Twitter in preference to Facebook, so I tied Google to a chair and inflicted the Spanish Inquisition upon it (it didn't expect that!), bombarding it with the word 'twitter' followed by various names of those I either know or have an interest in, and I found I was able to peruse posts without having to sign up again. Some were actually entertaining, like James May and Jeremy Clarkson, while others were somewhat less inspiring.
I also looked up a number of well known females in the hope that I might gain some insight into what makes them tick rather than just that they look hot, but many weren't on there including Sandra Bullock (who I suspect would actually be a really good laugh if one got to spend some time with her in the pub) and Winona Ryder. Keira Knightley clearly got bored of Twitter a long time ago, but Emma Watson seems a little more keen and Nigella appears to be a rampant user.
One clear fact that emerged is that no matter how much you've seen someone on the telly, their lives aren't really that much different from anyone else's apart from doing a job that lots of other people see. Even Olivia Wilde has to pop to the shop for some eggs.
So why do people share all these little titbits of their life?
Different people doubtless have different reasons for doing so, but I think I've finally come up with something that might make me rethink the usefulness of this trend.
Now I'm far from being some kind of social butterfly, but on the odd occasion that I meet up with someone that I haven't seen for a while I always think it'll be nice to have a good old chat and catch up with everything that's been going on since I last saw them.
But when we do meet up and I'm presented with the inevitable question "What have you been up to lately then?", my default answer is almost guaranteed to be "Not much". Now my life isn't really very interesting and little happens beyond the endless circle of 'work - eat - sleep', but there are always a few little nuggets worthy of a couple of minutes of conversation. However, at the point that I'm asked what I've been up to recently, all these things vanish into a grey mental fog and I'm left with little in the conversational arsenal beyond the same old "Seen any good movies lately" stuff that generally serves the purpose of a filler between the bits of proper conversation.
I don't really have a life totally devoid of anything of interest, I just have a very bad memory.
Twitter on the other hand enables a person to jot down life's little events and share them with others so that when you're faced with the "What have you been up to?" question you can just whip out your smartphone, hand it to the person asking the question and say "Here you are, read that lot while I get the drinks in".