Ruth Walker: 'One question occupied my mind. How had these strange people found me?'

CONFESSION time. You know how I said I hated Facebook? How I considered it a refuge for Jimmy and Jenny Nae Mates? People who felt the need to collect virtual chums instead of real ones? How I struggled with the etiquette? I mocked the ludicrous concept of status updates and pokings and wall postings. Of the need to fill all and sundry in on your precise location or the detailed contents of your stomach at any given moment in time. Jeez, enough already. TMI. Who cares?

Turns out I do. I care deeply. I'm what you might call a social networking newbie. A born-again believer. I might be a bit of a late starter (plus a change) but I've converted to the church of Linkedin. I worship at the altar of Facebook. I take part in the most gripping and socially pressing discussions of the day (what is the correct spelling: jobby or jobbie? Answers on a postcard...). And now I'm doing something I swore I'd never do. I'm tweeting.

What a strange and alien concept. Sure, it has taken a bit of getting used to, what with only being permitted 140 teensy little characters with which to tell the world what's on my mind (oh, where to begin...?). And that's before you get to grips with the tiny urls. And the #s. And the @s. The mooks and the freaks and the desperate salespeople out there.

Hide Ad

No sooner had I joined - I hadn't even posted a tweet yet, for heaven's sake - than I had my first follower. A chap called @king1106. "Hi I am a shy boy please exhibitions," he informed me, helpfully.

Then there was @Bikinibands_1. "Go strapless on the beach or anywhere! Woohoo! No tan lines!! Boys will say you look sexy and your friends will be sooo jealous!! ;)."

Despite the cheeky wink, the enticing promises (tan lines are the least of my worries right now) and the clear need for some pointers in the grammatical department, I decided not to return the compliments. Still, in a tweeting world inhabited by an estimated 18 million twits, one question occupied my mind above all others. How had these strange people found me? Is there some kind of virtual gladiatorial arena out there, where fresh blood is delivered as an offering to seasoned users as a sacrifice? Was I the Twitter equivalent of Russell Crowe? An unsuspecting victim in a game whose rules are, quite frankly, beyond me?

Then I spotted a connection. I mentioned the Moray Firth in one tweet and, before you could say, "Fit's that a' aboot then?", I had a loyal follower in @greater speyside. (This doesn't help explain why @BritishCoupons is following me, but still, baby steps.)

And so, after two weeks and 11 tweets, I have the sum total of ten followers. Most of whom I could lean over my desk and talk to at the office without the need for any technological assistance. It hardly seems worth it, really, does it? All that work so that @Bikinibands, @greaterspeyside and @king1106 can know I'm having a bad hair day. You too can follow my adventures if you like? I'm @ruth_lesley. I can promise neither earth-shattering news nor candid pictures of Demi Moore. But I can point you in the right direction of an even suntan.

This article was originally published in Scotland on Sunday on August 7.

Related topics: