One Hundred & Forty Characters

All about the One Forty and the big show in November

Characters Of The Day: @c_gos, @dollyalderton, @milliegibson, @v_fay, @sophwilkinson

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(L to R) @c_gos, @dollyalderton, @milliegibson, @v_fay, @sophwilkinson


“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.”


Written by Chris Floyd

November 10, 2011 at 9:54 am

One Response

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  1. […] I wrote something on being photographed for the exhibition’s website (or was it for the website version of the exhibition? the whole thing’s reached Escherian levels of cross-platforming): 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…[continue reading] […]

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