“I was sceptical about Twitter. I’d relented to Facebook some years ago. Thought it was bobbins. Deleted my account. Goodbye social networking.
Then along came Twitter. ‘Why would I want anything to do with that?’ I thought. Reading about what people are having for tea? Why would I care? I forget why I signed up to it now but over the last 18 months or so, it’s replaced both Google and the internet as my first port of call looking for news and advice. Be it football, revolutions in the Middle East or whether the M62’s blocked today.
I’ve come to realise, it’s more like an open message board. For the whole world. Throw something out there and you might get an answer. You might learn something or you might be able to help someone else. You might even end up having your photograph taken and it being displayed in some gallery somewhere. Who knows?
And by the way, I’m having fishcakes for tea tonight.”
“Twitter = the people I wish I’d gone to school with.”
“When I was in London last summer, I met up with Jonathan Worth — our first face-to-face meeting in several years of corresponding online, often on Twitter. He was heading to Chris’ studio for his 140 Characters shoot and asked if I’d like to join him. The truth is, I didn’t know Chris at the time and he didn’t know me, so I felt a little like an imposter, but after seeing the images, I decided it was at least nice for them to have a woman in the mix for visual balance .”
“Twitter was the buzzword of the moment when I opened an account in late 2009, but I had not created a profile to actively use the social media site. Having opened a Facebook account, and swiftly closed it, I was confident that social media wasn’t for me. No, I had joined Twitter purely as research when engaged in the redesign of a marketing magazine.
As I sat in on editorial discussions and planning meetings for the upcoming relaunch, every conversation appeared to begin ‘Twitter this…’ or ‘Twitter that…’ (obvioulsy that wasn’t the case, but it felt like it at times). So my intention was clear, I’d follow the journalist’s working on the magazine, and a random selection of high profile industry insiders that they where in turn following, along with a few advertising and design industry creatives who I knew by reputation purely for my research, and once the redesign was completed, and I had moved on to my next design project, I’d close down my Twitter account, or as many do simply allow it to fall dormant.
Following the magazines journalists and others on Twitter helped inform my understanding of the world of marketing in its many and varied forms. But at the same time, the banality of so many tweets simply reinforce my opinion that Twitter, like other social media, was not for me.”
So what changed?
After many months of passively engagement with Twitter, and at the point where my account was set to be closed, I began to find and encounter people who I knew — photographers, designers, illustrators, editors and writers — and to watch how they where sharing interesting links and engaging in short, but interesting conversation and debate. And this began to fascinate me, I began to see a benefit that I never encountered in Facebook, and this marked my point of true engagement.
Here in Twitter I had found a powerful tool that allowed me to enter into realtime conversation and debate, to ask questions of a global creative community, to share links and content of mutual interest, to find people with which to collaborate on creative projects, it even proved highly successful in the recruitment of design staff. And through shared interests and passions I came into contact with people whom I may not have encountered in any other way, if it where not for Twitter. People who I really wish I could meet in person, and who with those I already know have enriched my life.”
“I must admit when Chris initially asked if I would pose for him my first thought was to make my excuses, being on the wrong side of the camera genuinely doesn’t appeal being a photographer however social media never did either yet there I was fully immersed in Twitter Land.
So here I am one of the 140 characters, actually if you look closely you will spot me in two of the images so maybe i’m a visual representation of Twit longer!
My Twitter experience has been good, for one, you’re reading this so now you know I exist. I’ve met some really interesting folk as a direct result and made some good personal friends.
Most of all it’s taught me to stick to the point. 140 characters isn’t a lot so you think hard before letting your tweet go. Ok you don’t always get it right but equally no one castigates and burns you when you do.”
“Despite being asked the question many times over the thirty-seven years I’ve spent on this earth, I am actually not ‘on drugs’ nor have I ever really had any interest. As a boy I was far more interested in the 50p cans of shit lager the bigger kids would buy the younger ones like me from the off licence opposite the youth club. Mum and dad used to dump me there on a Sunday night so they could have some ‘grown-up time’ (shudder).
Lager, especially cheap lager, is basically carbonated urine. Aged 18 with an active interest in army surplus clothing and Indie music, the natural progression was brown beer, followed by Newcastle Brown Ale because it was in Viz, and now at my drink of choice Guinness. I will drink wine sometimes, but that’s mostly to impress women/get them drunk quickly or to distract from the bad cooking and worse company at dinner parties.
The beautiful thing about about alcohol as oppose to drugs is that you can consume it in public and even in full view of the Police. Other than the one episode when I was very young where I ‘borrowed’ a plant from the local Civic Offices after a night on the brown beer, it’s never really got me into any trouble. To this day that plant is in a garden in the quiet South-East London street where I grew up. My mum really liked it until she found out where it came from.
So for the majority of my life I’ve never really had a problem with addiction. Two years ago I found Twitter and it’s all gone very, very wrong.
AngryBritain.com is the online home of fed-up Brits, a place to vent, rant and shout whatever you like about whoever you like, over the past eighteen months Twitter has become the website’s drug-addled naughty little brother. Much like heroin, I imagine, when I’m ‘chasing the Twitter’ I can’t really be held responsible for my actions and I’ll do anything for my next fix. Nine times out of ten I’ve already hit the ‘send’ button before I’ve actually thought about what I’ve written – you just ask Katie Price. She loves me, almost as much as she loves Dwight Yorke.
How I’ve managed to avoid being sued up until now is nothing short of miracle really, I guess mostly it’s because I’m anonymous, nobody knows who I am, what I look like or where to find me. And now Chris Floyd has ruined it. After this exhibition closes you’ll probably find me penniless, homeless and sleeping in a piss soaked cardboard box under Embankment swearing at commuters and trying to jab my iPhone into an artery for that one last Twitter fix.”
“My name is Jeremy and I am a writer.
At various stages in the past I have been Jeremy the Advertising Guy, Jeremy the Bloke Who Works as an Odd-Job Man in a Greek Brothel or Jeremy the Wanker Who Takes Forever to Call Out Your Name When You’re Waiting to Bowl.
I am not defined by my job, which is handy as I’ve had some awful ones in the past and may well do again in the future.
So, I’m Just Jeremy, really. Jeremy who writes films and has a criminal record. Jeremy who loves his son and doesn’t like the Beatles. Jeremy who has a fingernail fetish and is enjoying writing about himself in the certain knowledge that you’ll read the words.
This is an odd thing; this exposure to strangers. Projecting an image through word and picture that accommodates ego and doesn’t offend vanity. Looking a bit like a potato I did my best to appear ‘interesting’ – or at least ‘edgy’ – on the day and now I’m talking about me and unsuccessfully attempting not to appear narcissistic.
I’m generous to a fault and yet mean-spirited and cynical. I’m easily bored, hard to please and susceptible to temptation. I’m very strong, extremely weak and disappointingly shallow. Everything is truth, lies and contradiction, framed by perspective. The photograph is only an accurate representation of its precise moment of being and the words are honest and yet completely erroneous, depending upon context.
Whereas the pictures will be forever useful as reference of a time when I thought I was interesting or edgy and looked like a potato, this is just a collection of words written by me, about me, designed to frame an illusion which may or may not be accurate.
But then I am a writer, after all.”
“It’s taken me years to ‘get’ Twitter. My promotional tweeting is largely going over like tumbleweed.
@guydaviesmusic tells me @CorrinaGreyson’s had a great photo taken for a collection being assembled by @chrisfloyduk called 140 Characters.
We go to @chrisfloyduk’s studio, A very likeable man. It is a very hot day. We pose barefoot.
Shortly, hereafter, I decide to have one final go at getting Twitter ‘right,’ and follow my friend @davidgarnold’s example: I tweet whatever.
@chrisfloyduk tweets me and tells me I’m on fire. I notice I am being retweeted regularly. My numbers rise.
@peterpaphides trumpets that @GeorgeMichael has joined twitter. I follow immediately.
I wake at 7am one Saturday, in time for a 7am tweet by the great man.
I tweet ‘blimey! You’re up early love!’ He replies “I often am. How are you?’ My numbers surge by about 300.
My new @GeorgeMichael followers include ‘This Morning’s’ Soap correspondent @Sharontweet
My Twitter confidence is ablaze, though I notice that my self-confidence generates rambling Byronic tweets of up to 16 in one go.
I begin taking long walks and bike rides, tweeting all that I see. I’m praised by the Streatham press. I decide to learn trees.
I begin pathological #ffing
This means that my numbers haemorrhage as quickly as they rise. I sign up to Who Unfollowed Me?
One afternoon I log in to find that @caitlinmoran has unfollowed me. I panic.
I check quickly to see if her husband still is. He is. Oh not so bad then.
El Boyfo says she’s probably just fed up with logging on and finding a wall of my tweets.
I begin a jocose flirtation with a motorbike enthusiast from Cheshire @zootcadillac, because he seems charming and has a shaven head.
And I’ve noticed my Twitter mate and fan @iainmarley is too. We joke about our twitter three-way.
@Markgatiss tweets, quite to my surprise, that he loves me. He means my music, of course.
Violinist @Eoschater tweets me, that they’ve mentioned me on the set of Sherlock Holmes, while she is coaching his violin playing.
On my way to @VoewoodFestival with @guydaviesmusic and @manofsherwood I hear of an almighty Twitter spat!
It is between my jocose Twitter flirtation @zootcadillac and my absolute favourite tweeter @themanwhofell
I immediately assume responsibility because of my pathological #ffs
I start making moon faces of tweeters and make one for @themanwhofell by way of covert apology. He doesn’t respond.
I feel stalky. I think all is lost. I decide to leave Twitter. I write a last ditch missive to @themanwhofell on Facebook.
He tells me not to be silly, that he has been busy and offers to edit some of my writing.
This throws me, as he once complimented me by saying that I tweeted the way @stephenfry should.
I don’t follow @stephenfry, @wossy, @rustyrockets or any of the UK biggies, so I wouldn’t know.
I would love it if @AlecBaldwin responded to my tweet. He responds to so many, but I haven’t captured his imagination yet.
@Brianenoreal is following me;
@Brianenoreal was following me.
@Tim_Burgess and I become twitter friends.
He tweets I lost my butler during an economic downturn, posting a clip of McAlmont and Butler on ‘Later.’ My followers surge by over 50.”
“Corrina Greyson had uploaded her 140 Characters shot straight onto her Facebook fan page. Once I saw them I was instantly enraged with jealousy. Other 140 shots started to emerge of her, Steve Furst and Eos Chater. The green monster had the better of me; why where they having such a good time FFS?
I called Corrina up and demanded to know who took these shots, as I wanted David McAlmont and I (who had just got back working together) to be in on it. She told me it was Chris Floyd who was doing this “Twitter project.” She gave me his number and I called him up straight away, using my pushy Scouse persona to get in on the project.
We shot these without any shoes on – I’ve completely forgotten why that was now.”
“I’ve worked with Chris Floyd since 1994, when he looked like someone out of Blur. We were both very young then and quite badly behaved. Although more usually I was quite badly behaved and he was quite disapproving. He bailed me out of jail once, and another time he stopped me re-opening some old wounds with Germany. Then, as happens, babies were born, careers diverged (well, his took off) and there came a time when we only used to see each other twice a year. And then Jack Dorsey invented Twitter.
We still only see each other twice a year but at least now I know what he’s thinking as he eats his breakfast and finds himself shouting at the Daily Mail.
Apart from listening to my old friend Chris, I like that late at night Twitter is like trying to sleep in a huge dormitory full of funny people. The other side is like having a spray can in my back pocket. Whenever a thought crosses my mind I just take out my spray can and scrawl 140 characters across the internet.
I like that Twitter makes shy people funny. I know some people who struggle to be heard around big gobbed idiots like me in ‘the real world’ but on Twitter we all have the same volume. I like that Twitter is like a diary. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but Twitter can (as long as I remembered to be really boring and tweet what I had for breakfast).
I brought Richard Bacon with me to the shoot because I hoped to hijack his celebrity and ride his coat tails all the way onto the pages of the nationals.
And because he has one a half million followers. It didn’t work. I should have realised:
On Twitter, everyone can be famous for 140 characters.”
“When I was younger, I regarded ‘The Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati’ as my bible. Written by an early client of mine, Robert Anton Wilson, it has a foreword by Timothy Leary, whose eight circuit model of consciousness and neurosomatic linguistic engineering is another guiding principle for me.
Whenever I opened the book, something odd and magical usually happened. I called the process ‘Wilson’s Manic Happenstance’, or I did, until I lost the book when I was mugged on a stag night in Bovey Tracey.
I live life as if every single moment is a coincidence. So, when on a cold wet morning a Twitter friend suggested that I head on down to Chris’s West London studio to take part in his Twitter photographic project, it simultaneously coincided with the cancellation of an 11 o clock meet.
Free to venture West, I tweeted Chris and arranged to turn up to be snapped. When you start looking for something you tend to find it- so said the late great Mao Tse-tung.
I was a little early and found myself standing in line with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Amazingly Hugh was reading my old dog eared copy of The Cosmic Trigger, dressed in a suit identical to the one I was wearing. The ice was broken. We quickly discovered that we were twins separated at birth. Adopted by different families, we grew up not even knowing of the other, yet we both sought law-enforcement training, we both had abilities in mechanical drawing, carpentry, cookery and public relations.
We both married women named Kate. We had sons of the same age. I named mine Janek Joshua and Hugh named his Joshua Janek. We both owned dogs which we named after an XFactor winner, @stevebrookstein.
After the shoot we headed off to catch up on old times and discuss Aubrey F Burstall, The Wire, Max Clifford, Jesus, Abyssinian Cabbage and @gracedent’s amazing book ‘How To Leave Twitter’.
After an incident in the loos, I discovered that tattooed on his right buttock, as on mine, is the wisdom of the great #PR stuntster Jim Moran: ‘There is nothing more dismal than a fact.’
Perhaps all this coincidence is the reason for my confusion, so I wonder if you can help me out. Take a close look at the exhibition still: is it Hugh or me? Chris isn’t telling.”