“Isabelle, Caroline and Sarah are nerdcore. They live on the internet, met each other through blogs, chatted on Twitter and are now real life buddies. When the picture was taken, they didn’t know each other that well – but getting to know each other after holding hands in a photo studio speaks volumes about the beauty of online.”
“Did you ever play with those little thumb-flick books? Imagine one with a single photo-page from each year of life. It focuses the mind when one has to guess just how many pages to leave blank – for pictures yet to come.
We lucky people who did 140 characters will have a Chris Floyd page in amongst all the Polaroids and the school portraits, and all that stuff shot on an iPhone.
I think I made a pretty professional model. Like when my mum took the picture on my page five. That was beside a train at Carlisle. And she got my feet in the picture.
The little book is always short. But doing this thing was time very well used. Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Mum.”
“When I was six years old, my dad won an enormous soft toy in a raffle. It was a purple dog. When he brought it home I decided that we should call it “Jesus”. It’s still the funniest idea I’ve ever had. My little sister and I laughed until we could laugh no longer, and even today any mention of “Jesus” is liable to cause giggling. Which would make things tricky during Midnight Mass, if I ever attended such a thing, which I don’t.”
“When I saw a tweet from Chris Floyd asking for people on Twitter to turn up at his studio for a Telegraph photoshoot I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet up for the first time in real life with some of my Twitter friends.
I tweeted about it, inviting tweeters to join me. I wasn’t disappointed. 14 of us met up, got photographed, had a good chat, got photographed again, and then went to the pub for lunch.
There were no surprises, everyone was the same IRL as they were IVL. I love Twitter.”
“Though it was great fun to do, I actually remember this shoot more for a picture of a bunch of us up on the iron staircase in the yard outside the studio than for Chris’s official pictures. I was dumped a few weeks after the shoot and needed to replace the screensaver on my iPod touch which was a picture of the girl I’d been going out with and the cheeriest thing I could find was that picture of some of my twitter buddies all together and grinning at me in the sunshine.”
“I heard about the shoot from @Dr_Black and it seemed a great thing to do as my daughter was still not at school and any excuse to catch up with friends while child-minding is always a good thing! I remember us all sitting round in Chris’ yard, lolling on the sofas and having a good chat. Then, as @Dr_Black says, we all went and had a big slap-up lunch in the pub afterwards. I met some good people that day like @jackcabnory @paul_clarke and of course the fabulous @baskers.”
@BlinkLondon on @ Christian_Ace
“My brother Christian told me about the 140 Characters project and asked me to come along to be photographed with him. Chris, aka Christian_Ace on Twitter, is one of my two big brothers. He takes the role very seriously. He’s not known for being overly cheerful, but his closest friends do know that he’s actually hilarious and that hard exterior hides and very soft centre. He’s protective of me in quite an old fashioned way. I blame him for my being single as he does tend to frighten potential suitors off (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).
He isn’t patient and is easily exasperated, so don’t ask him too may questions. Oh, and don’t even think about asking him to play any games as he’s far too competitive for it to be fun for anyone else. He’s eternally sociable and if he isn’t at home watching Saturday Kitchen or anything with David Attenborough in, he’ll be at the pub with a pint in hand, surrounded by a crowd of his many friends and admirers.
Chris is brilliantly creative and borderline obsessive about fonts, leading and kerning. He’s also very particular about the English language and it’s correct use, spelling and punctuation, which is quite a contradiction to his tendency to make up his own words and phrases. He’s a genius with 140 characters and manages to squeeze many pearls of wisdom, damning critiques and short, sharp quips into his tweets.
I was so pleased to have Chris Floyd take my picture with my brother. I was actually physically quaking as we entered the studio, so to have my protective, caring and encouraging big brother by my side was such a support. I’m so happy that we did this. It’s been amazing to be part of this genius project and also to have a photo to give all the family for birthdays and Christmases for the next while.”
@Christian_Ace on @BlinkLondon
“Lucy is my little sister and she fills that role perfectly. We didn’t get along for years (as I thought she was a pain) but with age that has thankfully gone and we are now good friends. She acts like an older sister to me sometimes but she means well, although I do find it quite annoying. I suppose I try and fill the Father role for her (which REALLY annoys her) and I can be quite protective, but you would be with a very pretty girl around some of my friends.
I’m not on Facebook so we now use Twitter as another way to communicate with each other and all I do is try and make her laugh if I know she’s a bit down. Lucy or @BlinkLondon, has a lot more followers than me but then again she doesn’t talk about #football or #Masterchef and isn’t as sweary.
I’m very proud of what Lucy has done with her business @BlinkLondon. It must have been very difficult for her in the beginning, working from home just with her cat Bobby for company, when she has worked in big fashion companies for most of her career. I think she’s doing brilliantly and she’s making a great success of it. Her dress sense is impeccable and I sometimes feel like a bit of a tramp around her, but my daughter loves the fact that her Aunty works in fashion and it costs me a fortune whenever they go out shopping together.
I thought it would be a nice idea doing the 140 Characters project with her as neither of us has done anything like this before, and I wouldn’t have wanted to get my picture taken with anyone else.
Lucy is my little sister, I love her dearly and I wouldn’t change that for the world.”
“I love twitter because I can ramble on about just how important my life is and no one will bat a cyberspace eyelid. But mostly I just tweet about what I had for lunch (Parsnip soup today if you’re asking). It has become the main way to communicate with friends/harass celebrities. I found out Amy Winehouse had died on twitter, it kept me abreast of the London riots and I discovered that Victoria Beckham had completed her quartet of children with a daughter named Harper Seven…brilliant.
I had wanted to write something really cool here but not actually being all that cool makes it difficult.”
“I love twitter. Because I am a bit of a show-off.
This photo was taken was when I was 21 and had hit my peak of showing off. I did some odd things that year, mostly for the sake of a story. I got a black cab from Stoke Newington to Warwick at 3 am to go and have a drink with a mate. I replaced food with vanilla cigarettes. I cut about 20 inches off my hair. I dated a man who owned a floor length wolf-fur coat. I had a row with Geri Halliwell. I got so out of it, I rang all my friends at Oxford University because I was convinced I was on their campus when I was in fact at Oxford Circus. I got caught shoplifting a cheese layer salad. I didn’t correct Alex Zane when he misheard my name, then let him spend the month of the Edinburgh festival introducing me as “Doreen”.
And I also joined Twitter.
Twitter is a playground for show-offs. One giant pub where you can stroll in, make a noisy entrance and tell a loud, funny story about what you did the night before. Real show-offs don’t think about the outrageousness of their actions, they think about tweeting it the next day.
I am always trying to get the people I love to join Twitter, because it allows you to feel like you’re in a beer garden with them when you’re actually at your desk.
But my best friend, @farly87, doesn’t get it – she isn’t a show-off.
“I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY!” she caterwauls every time I plonk her in front of the “what’s happening” box. And of course, she does have plenty to say. But she doesn’t think anyone would be interested. Whereas my problem is that I often assume people are going to be far more interested than they actually are. She’s understated, refined and modest, making her a far finer woman than I. But she’s not a tweeter. Never a tweeter.
My wonderful boyfriend @ollycrawley doesn’t get it either, because he hates the idea of validating yourself with the approval of strangers. “Twittering away are you?” he says every time I’m on my laptop. “Twittering”. Tweeters get totally cringed-out by non-tweeters using this as the verb. Like your mum saying “night-clubbing”.
However my other best friend @sophwilkinson loves Twitter. Because she too is a show-off. The woman would twitpic the colour of her night-bus seat upholstery if she thought it would get the attention of someone. Sometimes, without even realizing, we have a show-off-off on Twitter.
But as I grow up on Twitter, my tweets become less regular and their content fractionally less attention-seeking. I think a lot more about what I say and who it may hurt or offend or bore. I don’t want to impress and flirt with the Twittersphere as much as I did. It got to a point where my friends would bark “DON’TTWEETTHAT” at me in one breath after they said anything. And that ain’t good.
I was an attention-hungry, loud, hedonistic, narcissistic, frightful little show-off on the day this photo was taken. But what a weird and fascinating moment in my life to have captured. I was 21. “
“5 friends. 1 photographer. 3 redbulls. A LOT of cigarettes. A few beers. Many outfit conundrums. A freak out. A soft toy tiger. Gawky poses. Delusions of fame = Our twitpic.
Twitter is mind boggling. 140 characters. Simple. We fire them off into the public sphere without a second thought. It is impulsive and addictive. But why?
You don’t get it. Neither did I. Try it and you will soon understand. We are sociable creatures, us homosapiens. Twitter allows us to mingle, rub shoulders with celebs, converse with politicians, flaunt, moan, joke and communicate with every other person who “gets it”. Someone once said “it’s a small world after all”, Twitter proves this.”
“A lot of my friends take the piss out of me for using Twitter. They claim they “just don’t get it” and use the overly bandied around criticism; “it’s just self obsessed people telling the world what they had for lunch”. In some ways, they’re correct. I will admit to being perhaps a little self obsessed and occasionally tweeting about my daily lunchtime trauma of trying to choose a sandwich, but for me it is about much more than that. For me, Twitter is a sort of diary of thoughts I’ve had since I joined a couple of years ago. It also enables me to keep in touch with people I perhaps don’t see as much as I’d like, such as the ladies in the photograph with me, in a quick, informal and easy 140 characters. It makes waiting for the bus/train/friend who’s late for drinks less mundane, a chance to indulge in a little silliness. After a long day of being serious at work there’s often nothing I’d like to know more than what Perez Hilton thinks of this years X Factor Finalists or how Lindsay Lohan is explaining away her latest parole violation.
I first started following Chrisfloyduk after he re-tweeted a silly and self-pitying tweet of mine in which I whinged about a minor foot injury and declared I was cheering myself up by watching a film about the 1981 irish hunger strike whilst stuffing my face with chocolate cake. He told me he’d sent my tweet to the writer of the film who’d found it “fucking hilarious” which totally made my afternoon. Sure, it’s not exactly hard hitting, but that’s exactly how I explain my love of Twitter to sceptical friends who think they’re too cool for it – it’s just a bit of fun.”
“This photo was taken on a scorching hot day and I was profoundly hungover. I’d spent the previous evening drinking on the beach in Brighton, and the smaller hours had been consumed by Raoul Moat’s televised standoff with the police – and the corollary Twitterings.
Just as I can spend hours tweeting, I can spend hours standing in front of a mirror. I pull funny faces, I marvel at how great my eyebrows are and I play with my hair. Occasionally I take – fully clothed! – photos. But despite my tendencies to be a poser when facing the looking glass, I didn’t find it easy when Chris photographed me solo. He’s an incredibly talented photographer who’s taken so many photos not only of beautiful people, but of people who are as professional as him. Those who know how to pose readily in front of a camera as well as a bathroom mirror. I needed things from outside myself – I needed props. When someone gets a camera out, I like to clutch a person or a bag or a bit of jerk chicken or a cigarette. I suppose I could have flicked v-fingers, but I thought that could be inappropriate. I suppose I could’ve had a drink in my hand, but I don’t like it when people hold out drinks out in photos because it gives me synesthesia and all I hear is “Wahey! I’m drinking! Can you tell from this photo? This photo is telling you that I am On A Night Out. Oh yes. This is a cocktail/beer/glass of wine/cognac, how Carrie Bradshaw/laddy/suave/Jay Z am I?” And I felt queasy anyway. My friend Dolly made me do an impression of our friend’s festival dancing for the camera. The impression involves flailing around like a spaghetti-limbed dyspraxic (our friend cannot dance). Chris has never even met this person, and so I don’t think he got the joke. I felt a bit embarrassed and was kind of relieved when we went in to do a group photo.
I suppose that’s kind of what Twitter’s like. The best Tweeters don’t exist solely in the Twitterverse. The best Tweeters need their props too, to relay messages from the outside. Whether they’re linking to a new story from the Daily Mail’s Sidebar of Shame, making up a pun based on a trending topic or something in the news, uploading photos of hilarious typos, repeating the lewd story they’ve overheard on the bus, describing what’s happening in the middle of a riot, or giving an account on the raid of Osama Bin Laden’s hideout. It’s all about collating what happens what’s outside of Twitter. And if you put all that in, eventually you get stuff out of it: I’ve got jobs, friends and sex through Twitter. That’s why I don’t mind that I’ve spent so much time on it. You put enough tangible stuff into it, enough tangible stuff comes out. It’s not an alternate reality, it’s an accompanying reality.”
“Twitter, it’s my wife and it’s my life”, as Lou Reed once said. All right, he didn’t say ‘Twitter’. He said ‘heroin’. But Twitter is virtually identical to heroin, after all. It’s addictive and its heavier users end up dribbling and staring, blank and heavy-lidded. Except heroin addicts stare at damp walls in bleak furnitureless flats, or so I believe. Twitter addicts stare at screens. At feeds. At scrolling columns of Retweets, follow Fridays, hashtags, links, favourites. Red eyes barely registering the words flitting through their field of vision. Some they might understand, some more like some arcane code. #Xfactor, SCREAM!, #Ukuncut, KLAXON, Bieber, *face*, #whenyouknoyomommaaho and so on.
It sounds awful, doesn’t it? It is awful. But you could say the same about television. Television is awful, but also, of course, fabulous. The key with Twitter, as with TV, is selectivity. Click on a popular hashtag – as I write, #ThingsPeopleShouldNotDo is improbably trending – and it’s like gazing into The Matrix. A Tweetdeck-throttling, breathless, overwhelming flood of tweets from people who, in this case, all have an opinion about a thing people should not do, all sharing that opinion, virtually none of those opinions being registered by anyone else, so fast and impenetrable is their flow.
But be selective, and Twitter will be your pal. Be selective about who you follow -I try and keep the number down to 250 and would ideally follow fewer still. Be selective about what you tweet – many times I’ve written a tweet only to delete before sending. Asking yourself “yes, but who cares?” before clicking return sets up a useful filter. And here’s a tip – be selective about what you leave on the site once you’ve tweeted it. I regularly go back over my past few days’ tweets and delete those that are most ephemeral, maybe relating to something that happened in a passing moment but doesn’t make sense out of context. I also delete replies to people that I know have already been seen. I think of it as tidying the house – if a prospective new follower was to look at your feed, what would you want them to see? It also keeps my total number of tweets down, allowing me to think I’m not dedicating all that much of my time to Twitter, though in reality the painstaking act of deletion means I’m actually dedicating more time to it than I would be if I just left the tweets up.
Twitter, it’s my website and it’s my lebsite, as Lou Reed might have said, had the mid-60s New York avant garde had access to computer-based social networking. Had he said it, it wouldn’t have made any sense, but, you know, he was on heroin.”