13 February 2009

Twitter, strangers on a train, and Peter Serafinowicz.

I'm new to Twitter and haven't quite become comfortable with it yet. It confuses me greatly, and here's why.

Stephen Fry, the Twitter poster-boy, makes a comment like "Home. Fast falls the eventide and so forth. Time for a little voddie in the bathtub" and many thousands of people instantly read this via PC, laptop, mobile, etc, and are INTERESTED in hearing it.


A man who many of them will never meet, has announced that he's going to have a drink and a bath, they're pleased to received this nugget of information via the technology of their choice, and I DON'T KNOW WHY!

What is of even more concern, is that I'm a follower of Fry's tweets and I was also interested. What's happening? Since when did a stranger's life become something to read about in 140-character segments?

I don't understand Twitter. I don't understand what it's for, or why it's so bloody addictive. I demand explanations.

Strangely, I was on the train to Nottingham on Wednesday afternoon, and sent out a tweet saying, "Cattle class train from St Pancras to Nottingham. Dirty, scruffy and perfectly unpleasant. I miss 1st class."

Checking my phone about ten minutes later, I'd received the following reply from a complete stranger, "Rablenkov I am on the same train - A23 - the guy with the laptop setup -"

Several thoughts tumbled through my mind in rapid succession: 1) Is this some sort of chat-up line? Have I stumbled into the sordid world of same-sex Twitter dating?, 2) No, obviously not, the guy is just doing what Twitter's all about - social networking, and finally, 3) Will he suggest meeting up for a coffee and a chat?

At first, I was greatly concerned by this new development but, after a few messages back and forth, we went our separate ways and the universe returned to normal, slightly shaken but otherwise unharmed.

It was an exceedingly odd experience. Furthermore, I couldn't help thinking that if the poor chap had been sitting directly opposite me and suddenly said, "How are you? Having a good day?", I may well have yelped, fumbled in my jacket pocket for a can of pepper spray and shouted "Somebody help me, I'm being engaged in friendly conversation against my will!"

That's the odd thing about Twitter - you'll happily chat to someone or tell a group of random strangers what you're doing right at that moment, but if a living, breathing, sitting-in-front-of-you person tries to talk to you in real life, you're rather more likely to engage them in a bout of fisticuffs than a conversation.

I'm sure there's some deeper point behind all this, but for the life of me I can't think what it is. Far too busy having fun drinking this brandy.

On an unrelated note, I saw the excellent Peter Serafinowicz at St. Pancras station on Wednesday, with his wife Sarah Alexander. For a brief moment, I contemplated approaching him and saying something along the lines of "I'm a huge fan of yours. Just wanted to say hi", but then I realised that it would make me look like a massive cock.

I walked away instead, self-respect intact, not feeling like a complete and utter spanner.

Other things have happened over the last couple of days, but most of it has been so mediocre that even a healthy dose of outrage and 'humour' couldn't save it from being crushingly tedious.

My next post shall be about writing.


Benny C said...

I would have asked him for an autograph. "Can you get Simon Pegg's autograph for me?". That would fulfill the muted acknowledgment criteria whilst not letting him get too big for his massive forehead. (and slightly bulgy eyes)

I like him too to be fair.

Dan said...

Pshh and tsk.

Anonymous said...

Who knew that Peter Serafinowicz was married to Sarah Alexander? I thought she had a tendancy towards OAPs?

Dan said...

Please note, the above post may be construed as potentially libellous.

Now, tell me more...!

Anonymous said...

She was in a relationship with veteran actor Gerald Harper who was 42 years her senior. He was 72 and she was 29 when it ended. Google it.... tis true!

Dan said...

Well you learn something everyday.

It's not unusual - I once dated Thora Hird in the mid-90's. The best part was not having to climb the stairs to the bedroom.