How Twitter stuffed my blogging brain

A couple of weeks ago I composed a little tweet along the lines of ‘I used to be quite good about updating my blog. Then I discovered Twitter.’ One of my tweeting pals replied saying I should blog about this fact. I agreed and then proceeded to fail to write said blog for a silly number of days. Why? Because Twitter really has filling up the bit of my brain that compels me to write blog posts.

twitterTwitter is like and endless supply of mini snacks. A jumbo sack of 10p bags of crisps or a pic and mix of penny chews. A tweet is almost instantaneous. You don’t have to think about it for very long before firing it off (unless you’re about to wade into a spat or tricky discourse) and it takes no time at all to type it. Sometimes it does take a number of seconds to delete it down to the appropriate number of characters, but it’s still a very small time investment.

Blogging takes a little longer. A post will sit on your site rather than disappear down a timeline and it just straight up demands a little more in the way of words – and commitment. Also, blogging doesn’t seem to have quite the same addictive quality Twitter has. These days, I can go quite a while without thinking about blogging, but I seem to check my Twitter feed an awful lot. I don’t know why I’m surprised, crisps and penny chews have always been my downfall.

And then there’s the potential for instant feedback, which is so much more likely on Twitter, and feeds into that same writerly longing for confirmation when doing something alone that takes ages. It’s like the difference between writing a flash fiction you can sub in a number of days and a novel that will take you years. Which is more tempting when you’re in need of just a teeny wee ego boost? No question for lonely, affirmation seeking writers who happen to be drinking cold coffee and wearing a blanket.

So what am I saying? Basically Twitter has shown me that what I really want is distraction, conversation, attention and crisps.

Ross boosts authors with Twitter book club

Sometimes all something needs is a celebrity name to it, a mere mention is like a flame to a fuse and suddenly it explodes in popularity. Think of the massive sway of the Oprah book club in the US and the UK’s version from Richard and Judy – a title on their recommended list and suddenly your sales go off the chart. So the news that Jonathan Ross, a huge Twitter fan, has launched a book club over the micro blogging service is pretty exciting stuff for the book world.

Found at #wossybookclub, he’s chosen Jon Ronson’s Men Who Stare at Goats as the first candidate prompting a swift rise up the charts for the book in question. According to bookseller.com it saw a 7,000 per cent increase in 24 hours! Nice work Ross.

Unsurprisingly Ronson sounds pretty pleased about the whole thing, undoubtedly Picador will be too. I wonder if Ross is soon to become the next celeb to suddenly become incredibly influential in book sales – despite being famous for something else entirely. If it gets people reading, then I’m certainly not one to complain.

Twitter’s jail time potential and China’s forbidden sex park

I’m starting off with Twitter as this news story totally gave me pause for thought – a Guatemalan man could face jail time after an ill advised Tweet was deemed to be a threat to the country’s financial stability. I think of Twitter mainly as something throwaway and disposable, a fun way to pass a little time and an easy venue for voicing your frustrations. I never thought of it as a web activity that could so easily provide you with real life trouble and I’m probably slightly more aware of online branding and representation than your average user.

On the other hand, the seriousness with which the Guatemalan leaders took the indiscretion certainly tells us a lot about the power the micro blogging service has the potential to wield. They believed one man’s Tweets could have the power to plunge the country into financial panic – who’d have thought it?

Friday saw me reading about China’s first sex theme park and giggling while wondering how it would go down with the extremely conservative side that remains strong in modern China. Not well at all, it turns out. Today we find out that the park is being dismantled before it even properly opened.

It didn’t look as though it was ever destined to be the classiest affair, and I can understand why people would object but it’s a shame. Li Yinhe, an expert on sexual attitudes at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Guardian China’s attitudes towards sex are still at a low – especially compared to historical dynasties. She said: “I read a report saying in the west about 90% of women have experienced orgasm, but in China the number is only 28%.”

That’s not to say that China’s attitudes aren’t changing though and people are far freer than they have been in recent times, I guess a sex park just might not be quite the way to go about it.

The things you find in the news, honestly the best way to find inspiration for stories. The only problem is when you end up defending your far-fetched sounding tale by whining ‘but it really happened’ to incredulous readers.

Wolverine reveals his soft side

Ok, so it’s not actually Wolverine, it’s actor Hugh Jackman. But either way, it’s always nice to hear of someone being altruistic, and it seems like the most cutting edge way to do it these days is over Twitter.

The Australian actor, star of recently leaked X-Men Origins, has announced over the micro blogging site that he’ll donate $100,000 to a charity chosen by one of his followers. Tweet. Er, I mean, sweet!