Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dad At The Digital Disco

Age: 52, Facebook Friends: 231, LinkedIn Connections: 105, Active Blogs: 2, Tweets in May: 1

I’m a young 52 and having the Digital Department in my ‘portfolio’ keeps me that way. I know my way round the web but lately I’ve caught the twenty-something Aardman digerati looking at me in that way my 13 year old does .... ‘I love you Dad but you’re SO out of touch’.

I think it’s because I’m not getting on with Twitter. I was a late adopter and there are only so many social networks I have time for (i.e. one). I was persuaded that I would find it rewarding. I haven’t.

Of all the tweets that have flapped into my account only @Aiannucci’s tweet on Gordon Brown’s #bigotgate moment has really made me laugh out loud (‘Never has so much shit hit so small a fan’). Only @alaindebotton’s beautifully crafted words of wisdom have tickled my dilettante, intellectual g-spot (‘So strong is self-love, the only way to judge a piece of writing is to wait till you can read it as though someone else wrote it.’).

To me the rest is a cacophony of self-promotion, inane chat and mutual/self admiration. On a train journey the other week a friend said, ‘Oooh, I’ve been retweeted’. This, I now understand, is like having your first haiku read out at Assembly but without being beaten up by the hard kids afterwards. Hardly a badge of honour.

I don’t follow enough people to get enough out of Twitter but I can’t be bothered to trawl through a couple of hundred people’s profiles to see if what they are obsessing about is of any relevance to me and if the way they are obsessing of any interest.

Even personal heroes like @charltonbrooker underwhelm me on Twitter, he saves all his good lines for the Guardian and his TV shows, which he tweets about remorselessly.

There’s no narrative on Twitter and without it I am bored, just like I am in a bad play. I have walked out of a bad play after 5 minutes (‘Tango At The End of Winter’ starring a po-faced Alan Rickman since you ask) and I think my five minutes may be up with Twitter.

Even the crappiest movie has some sort of narrative which is why I can usually sit through any old drivel on the silvery screen. That’s sort of how I feel about Facebook. It keeps me in touch with my friends, I can follow their narratives and they mine, it tolerates both close and distant relationships and nurtures them all.
LinkedIn doesn’t count. I accept all LinkedIn invitations but do nothing with them, I’m just gambling that one day all those connections will be useful.

I was beginning to worry that my twitter ennui ( twennuie?) meant I wasn’t a true, digital immigrant (the way that you worry about being a real man after seeing an attractive drag queen) but then I realised that Twitter is for people on the make. The Twitterati want something from me – they want my ‘follow’ to justify their tweet time.

Not that Twitter or its devotees are pretending that it is anything other than a digital show-offs club, it was just me hoping it was. I’ll delete my Twitter account forthwith ... or perhaps I might just wait until I’ve used it to promote this piece of self-congratulatory cleverness. It’s what Twitter is for.

@milesbullough is Head of Broadcast at Aardman Animations.

This article was first publihsed on Broadcastnow.co.uk