2013, the year that Twitter becomes email (for the masses)

intlieotI’ve just tweeted a link about Twitter’s ‘impending’ IPO for 2014 when it is expected to be valued at $11 billion. This is a ridiculously low valuation and I will tell you why.

I’ve used Twitter for four years. I took to it like a duck to the desert, thought it was stupid and let my profile linger for six months before I started playing with it.

The rest is (my personal) history. It became my salon, leading marketing tool, ego, friend and just about defined my emerging digital being. It would be reasonably true to say that I fell in love with it, like falling in love with London. A *special* kind of love.

New friends, the 21st Century person that I wanted to be known for, not the lingering child of the 1970s who stopped evolving when Mama, we’re all crazee now by Slade was Number One for the fifth week.

But it’s taken a surprisingly long time for Twitter to become mainstream and I don’t mean it’s ubiquity in the print and online media where it’s almost replaced non-analytical journalism.

A lot of my (non-digital) friends still don’t use it, worse still they use Facebook, which is like using a dirty rag to wash your car, unlike the pure chamois of Twitter. Unforgiveable.

So, all these stories of Twitter not being able to monetise its so many million users have led some, noticeably this week in a London newspaper, to believe that social media may have peaked.

Nonsense. It may be bifurcating and trifurcating and might even be jolly well tetrafurcatiing into niche social media, but the masses still haven’t taken to it like they did to email 12-15 years ago.

That’s because it’s *difficult* to use properly. Those who deride Twitter are usually the thickest of all, they remind me of fatwa-waving Muslims who didn’t bother reading The Satanic Verses. Ignorance is always loud.

But this year could be different. I’ve started noticing followers among my non-Twitter mates, tenatively sending out the odd message, becoming more confident as they begin to understand what a wonderful thing it is.

And where they tread, the great unkempt masses of idiots who think The Sun running a pro-war ad in an Argentinian newspaper is a good thing, will follow. In 2013 it will become the new email as it for those of us who see a DM as more personal, valuable and immediate than an email.

That’s because nobody has ever, ever said ‘Did you get my DM?’ because they know it’s arrived, they know their Twitter addressee would think they were stupid if they did so. But not so with email, I can’t begin to tabulate the number of people who still ask me whether I received their email (Of course I did, you idiot, I just ignored it… and you).

So, dump your Outlooks or even your Gmails and sign up to Twitter now. But you already have, haven’t you? That’s because you’re reading this and if you’re reading this, then you’re a cool digital dude anyway.

Setting fire to the house and falling down bogs at Christmas

Kitchen_Fire(1)_rdax_88It wasn’t lonely this Christmas in my household three days ago. In many ways everything was with us, the whole caboodle of elements from earth to wind to water to fire.

It began with a stocking and the wind, blowing across the South Downs like a cold typhoon, shattering the silence and causing our nine-year-old son to jump into our bed, terrified that his insomnia had wrecked his chances of a chimney-Christmas.

Fears allayed, he slept, then awoke to ravage the contents of expensive gifts made cheaply in China. Then, a task was set. Go downstairs and put the (electric) kettle on, son. You can charge up your iPod, you can turn on our Christmas tree lights… you can boil a kettle.

Job done, he returned. Thirty minutes later, my wife goes downstairs… then screaming and panic. “OUT, OUT, OUT, everybody OUT! This place is going to blow!”.

I came down to the kitchen on fire, grabbed the dog’s blanket, finally put out the fire as the electric kettle fizzled under the tap and its melted plastic congealed on the cooker. Yes, my son had filled the kettle, turned on the hob and placed the electric kettle on the hob. A. Chip. Off. The. Old. Block. Innit.

My wife’s somewhat strange reaction (“the place is going to blow” etc), I put down to too many viewings of Homeland, but our narrow escape was forgotten as we went for the Christmas walk, promising to replace the batteries in the smoke alarm that were taken out during one of those ‘cooking’ experiences.

So, the Christmas Walk. Along swollen Sussex rivers and overburdened weirs, no Christmas Day swim this year. Ahead, the black Labrador frolicked, rushing through the bogs, happy as a dog in marsh, as Larry, as a pig in shit.

The ground, the earth in our element-watch, was sodden and dangerous. My son walked ahead, I told him to take care (you know what happened with the kettle), so I took over, striding as a patriarch but looking like John Cleese in his Ministry of Silly Walks.

Next moment, no earth, only water up to my neck and my beloved Cordings covert coat (bought after watching Lock, Stock) drenched in running water. Back on relatively dry land, my hand rushed to my mobile, it was wet but OK, the wallet still there, the rest cold-wet.

Laughter from my wife and son, a nagging fear from quicksand memories in Egypt that brought rictus and filled Wellington boots and a cold walk home through the rain.

Rounded elements. Wind, then fire, then earth and water. A hot bath, some pages from The Alexandria Quartet by Laurence Durrell, then a slow Christams lunch at a pub where the car was left and the stomach strained.

Then home to the TV and the ‘proper’ presents. The lighting of the hearth, the glow of lazy TV and piles of discarded polystyrene and knotted ribbons.

Outside it was cold, inside there was a kitchen without a kettle, but somewhere a memory cached for the future that this was a most excellent Christmas Day.

In 2013 we hire detectives to investigate ourselves, in 2023?…

The actor Ashley Judd is an interesting character. Not only is she a Hollywood star, she is also married to the Scottish racing driver (with the Scottish name) Dario Franchitti and is dropping hints that she is about to contest the US Senate seat for Kentucky.

While it is mischievous to think of her imploring Dario to go ‘faster, faster’ while they are in their love shack, it is certainly bizarre to know that two weeks ago she engaged a private investigator… to examine her own past. Continue reading

It’s all about beauty, idiot, don’t you ever forget it

There exists an amazing poem called Postscript by Seamus Heaney that describes a locked-in man driving home from Galway.

He has the most beautiful drive in front of him, but he can’t see anything; he’s thinking about the mortgage, how his status weighs up against others, how expensive his children are, what he was. He’s blind to beauty. Continue reading

I’ve never met a nice South African (Airlines representative)

Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and if we are to give everything its due nothing really ever goes to plan because we’re all just hamsters, man, spinning in the big wheel of life.

Even so, when things do go awry it does send one off one’s rocker, especially if those best-designed plans are sytmied by an idiot and an idiot’s charter. Such was the case late last Friday evening at London Heathrow’s Terminal 3. Continue reading