I recently made the cardinal mistake of forming an expectation of my Twitter following. I transformed their 1234-or so-strong brethren into an audience, a receptacle for my 140-character-long monologues, suffused with sparkling wit and incisor-sharp observation. But, however much I strained and sweated over their birth, few of my tweet-babies garnered any perceptible admiration from my followers. In the world that is Twitter, this is best measured by retweetability; the number of times a tweet gets forwarded on to other followings.
I decided to give Twitter a break when I saw none of my tweets being retweeted, yet all a celebrity (even those that only exist within Twitter) had to do was utter the equivalent of a fart in the digital ether, and it was reproduced and perpetuated ad nauseum. How can you compete with that? And more so, if that is the level at which one must pitch to the Twitter public, then why would one want to win?
A few weeks away from daily tweeting has reminded me that I’m not on Twitter as a performer, nor self-publicist, nor anything else, because Twitter cannot be solely defined as a platform for any of those things. It is all things to all tweeters, a multifaceted complex organism, with little purpose, and much proven potential. Twitter is as diverse as the people who use it, and it is both naïve and arrogant to assume to predict behaviours therein: I remain clueless as to what constitutes a successful tweet, farts and all. Twitter just is.
Writer. Darwin, science & more. 4 books: Piospheres, Darwin in Scotland, Serial Killers. Current project is THE DISSENT OF MAN. Born near London, raised near Primrose Hill and in Lincolnshire, and studied at the Universities of Bangor, York and Edinburgh for degrees in Biochemistry, Bioelectronics and Biological Computation, and a PhD in African Ecology. Mainly working in British and African universities, but also in Spain, Brussels, Mongolia and Australia, to date, publication history is mostly in academic journals, on aspects of computational biology, pastoralism and on Charles Darwin and evolution. However, also written for several national newspapers, various governments, several major record labels and independent book publishers. Fiction has appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and poetry is at the Human Genre Project. Lives in Edinburgh, with partner and their two daughters.