The brackets are required as I don’t know whether this will be an explanation (“How Twitter Works”) or a question (“How Does Twitter Work?”).
I am, as you are aware, on Twitter. Over there on the left. My most recent post being about Dierdre Barlow (ha! I spelt it wrong on Twitter – I was sure it didn’t look right!) and Nigel Havers. This is firmly in the “nothing to do with cycling” category but does allow me to post my thoughts when then come into my head (which is the whole point of Twitter) rather than build them up for a blog entry like this. Sometimes they are a seed from which an oak tree of a post evolves on here . (Great argument taking place in the flat next door while I type; with the hot weather, everyone has their windows open and the couple concerned are, I think, southern Europeans – it’s very continental!). Back to Twitter; I am currently following 244 people and 97 people are following me. It’s interesting to look at these two figures; the great and the good usually only follow a very small number of people but have thousands if not millions following them. Stephen Fry, for example, has over 1.6 million people following him (what a responsibility!) while he follows “only” 53,531. That’s a ratio of 3.3% (if ratios can be expressed in percentage terms). He is one end of the spectrum in terms of followers. Jonathan Ross, another Twitter celeb has nearly 600,000 followers but only follows 4,181. That’s 0.7%. Bit of Ross’ arrogance coming out there perhaps?
Being a vacuous type, I’m not immune to the celebrity pages of the newspaper and I follow a fair share of the rich and famous. Some are remarkably candid and quite often they will make a comment about themselves or their life which hours later will be splashed across the Internet. But apart from the celebs, I follow lots of cyclists of course, lots of teachers and specifically, lots of languages teachers. We MFL teachers are, after all, teaching communication and we do love blogging and all that it beholds (arguing again next door). That said, I could name a few exceptions who remain resolutely in the 20th Century when it comes to technology…
But back to me and my Twitter account. My ratio is a rather depressing 252%. This means that I follow two and a half times as many people as follow me 🙁 . And even some of those “followers” are fairly dubious and include such blatant marketing outfits such as “GrouponReading” which is a play on “Coupon Reading” and distributes, via website links, vouchers for various things going on in the town. Note the lack of a link there; they can do their own marketing! However, I do have a couple of people who follow me who I’m quite proud of (and occasionally check to see if they are still there!). They are Mark Beaumont (ratio 2.4%; he only follows 114 people and I am one of them!!!!) and Al Humphries (ratio 43%) the two famous cycling adventurers. In the political sphere, I am followed by non other than Nick Clegg (ratio 69% but I am one of 33,000 and he doesn’t post very often; the last time was the 11th June when he wished the England football team good luck… oh dear….) and my own MP Rob Wilson (ratio 54% but I am one of 312 in a constituency of 70,000). Politicians went Twitter mad when we had the election in May and their ratios reflect the fact that they are desperate to please; if you follow them they tend to follow you back!
I do, however, have a new celeb who is following me. He is a kind-of minor celeb who does a show on BBC Radio Berkshire (and apparently read the news on Jonathan Ross’ Radio 2 show). His name is Andrew Peach. However, his ratio is almost as depressing as mine – 147% – and I am one of 609 people that he follows…. That said, he has clearly taken the time to push the “follow” button and reciprocate so for that a big thank you Andrew. How about a little slot on your morning show this week to talk about my little trip to Italy? I think I will send him a message right now and suggest just that….
They have stopped arguing btw. 🙂