I’ve been a twitter user for a couple of years now and still find it a really valuable tool for communicating socially, plus the most incredible information source when I need to travel anywhere or even just need advice. But in recent months I’ve seen my general use decline. The reasons I think are varied, time, outside personal influences, melancholy or just general lethargy at times, but also an uneasy feeling that things are changing and not for the better.
As an early user I started as most folk tend to with a plethora of celebrity sports, TV and comedy personalities. I soon winnowed most of these away to all but those I really found either funny or interesting, as clearly none of them generally interact with Joe-Public and for me at least that is not what twitter is about.
Gradually over time my following and followers list grew into list of folk who have similar interests to myself, and post, read and most importantly interacted with me about them, these being, good food, music, a skittering of sport, coffee and BEER.
Now I may be reminiscing about those “good old days” wearing rose-coloured glasses, these filtering only the good times to the fore, but my memories of a year ago for example are filled with laughs, impromptu beer tasting sessions and good-natured banter. More recently though things seem be taking a darker sometimes sinister direction. I’m not saying it’s all bad, it’s not and I have some great friends out there in the Twittersphere, but there is definitely something that just doesn’t feel right.
So what’s changed in the beer community in that time?
Well it’s grown for starters, maybe that has a part to play as less folk know each other as they perhaps once did, therefore making the interaction more widespread and perceptually less often.
I also think some brewers interact a bit less than they used to, and that is not meant to be either a criticism nor a broad brush sweeping statement as I can understand it completely. Some do, some don’t, tweet much or interact with followers and I can’t say that I blame them in some respects. The hours worked are often crucifying and I’m sure there are only so many times you want to reply to someone saying how much they love your beer, or to randomly condemn it as being drain-pour slops making all their hard work meaningless.
This though is where the brewery and brewery folks personal accounts come into their own, but again with the former, “some” can be nothing more faceless spewers of advertising with little or no banter, though thankfully these are in the minority too.
Does Untappd have a part to play? (I wrote about this a while back) Some people really hate it and I know for sure with some brewers it definitely does. Being slammed with wave after wave of beer check-ins on a daily basis, at times with undeservedly negative comments can’t do much for your cheery goodwill attitude to all.. A classic example below:
I have definitely made an effort to cut the amount of twitter posts direct from Untappd to a minimum and go back to my old ways of posting comments etc direct or even just generally without tagging.
The characters have changed over time too, some alliances/friendships fade, sometimes through neglect, or maybe perhaps a quiet but deliberate attempt to slip away from folk that annoy or badger you. I’ve lost count of some of the people I used to speak to almost every day, but who’s icons I now rarely see pop up on my timeline. It may be that these folk are just bored, I’m missing them or maybe I’m a victim of the “quiet walk off” myself. Could some though be a little fearful of being down-trodden or ridiculed for saying the “wrong thing”, going against the flow of general consensus or being lost in a sea of messages from the scattergun tweeters, those folk that attack your timeline like wasps battering themselves to death as if trapped inside a bottle of warm cider, bam, bam, bam, then silence and peace…
Then of course we have the “parody accounts”, some of which are clever and witty, others that seem to be there for nought but malice or mischief. I do follow some for sure, but I do question whether it’s a wise move at times, after all who is next, it could be you or I. Take the most recent examples of the last few days, with names I am not going to mention for fear of fanning the flames which at last seem to have gone out, but I’m sure have still left nasty scars on those unfortunate enough to have been attacked or so badly cloned. Twitter can be a truly evil place at times and it’s all too easy for a snide remark or accusation made with a certain degree on anonymity to snowball into a dark avalanche.
Finally there are some folk that are sadly no longer with us, but whose name still lives on through fond personal memories, old musings forever committed to the web, or even now in annual “Golden Pints” beer blogging awards. Twitter needs more witty, articulate folk like this much missed chap, but sadly they are a very rare breed. Make Golden Pints choices wisely and if you are lucky enough to be honoured in this way, treasure that moment as you must be doing something right for someone.
Now these are some of my personal thoughts, stuff that’s been rattling around my head on the whole for a while. You may agree, It may of course “just be me”, after all I am a moaning miserable old sod at times and there’s a good chance that your experiences are completely at odds with my own, either way no malice is meant, I just had to get it off my chest to allow me to get on with it and move on.
I wasn’t sure how to end this, in fact I wasn’t sure whether I should actually post it up at all, so I asked a good friend and confidant for his thoughts and I quote:
“I hope Twitter isn’t changing into a big fuck-bag full of lazy run-of-the-mill twats called the general public that don’t have even half a brain and are screwing up what used to be a fun and exciting media by lowering the average IQ level to that of an amoeba after 12 pints of Carling”
Not quite how I would have put it, but I think you get the point being made..
In closing I ask the question again, “is it just me?”
Am I just in the wrong frame of mind, is all still as good as it once was and I’m just not seeing it or have things seen a change for the worse in your eyes too? Either way I’ll be doing my upmost to be more positive in 2014 and plan to take as many other folks as I can with me.