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Twittering about Twitter

Over the last couple of months I’ve been learning the ropes on Twitter.

I’m an old hand at Facebook, but I’m an ‘L’ driver when it comes to its younger sibling Twitter and its machinations. Up until a month ago, I thought a hashtag was a labelling system favoured by drug dealers.

I’ve since learned that by composing a message (a Tweet) then adding a hashtag (#) followed by a keyword, it allows your Tweet to be seen by anyone who searches for that same keyword.

For example if I Tweeted ‘I am slightly inebriated. Think I might have a little doze. #powernap’ then anybody who searches for ‘powernap’ will be able to see my Tweet along with those of anyone else who has hashtagged their Tweet with the phrase ‘powernap’.

The next stage would be to draw someone’s attention to my Tweet by including their name. If I Tweeted ‘@abushe7 I am slightly inebriated. Think I might have a little doze. #powernap’ then not only would my post be read by anyone who searched for ‘powernap’, but it would also be seen by my boss Alistair Bushe (@abushe7). And, if I posted it during working hours, its content would probably lead to my dismissal.

In terms of users, not only is Alistair Bushe on Twitter, but there’s a host of others. Twitter is a very strange landscape with the world’s biggest names like Ricky Gervais, Barack Obama and UTV’s Paul Clark mixing with ‘Regular Joes’ like my dad, my wife’s brother’s cousin and UTV’s Frank Mitchell.

And there’s absolutely nothing to stop you, me or Frank keeping tabs on anyone we like by finding their profile and clicking the ‘Follow’ button. For example it is perfectly acceptable for me to be following Kelly Brook without fear of a restraining order.

Asides from celebrity ‘stalking’, Twitter is actually a very useful tool for keeping up to date with breaking news and sports stories.

The problem is its very easy to get sucked into the Twitter universe and find that four days have passed since you last spoke to anyone in the flesh. By trying to stay in touch with the world around you via Twitter you can end up totally out of touch with reality.

I haven’t exactly painted a rosy picture of Twitter, but just like alcohol, pork pies and somersaults, it is something that is very good in moderation.

Right, it’s time I got to the point - anyone who wants to follow me on Twitter can do so by connecting with @graemecousins

But bear in mind, anyone who tries to follow me in real life, will be dealt with by means of a dig in the bake.

Vampires expire

The final film in the Twilight saga opened in cinemas last week.

To mark the occasion some cinemas are showing all five Twilight films back to back - an eleven-hour experience not for the faint-hearted or those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

I can just imagine hardcore Twilight fans emerging from the cinema after simultaneously watching all five films - shielding their pallid faces and sunken eyes from the bright lights... so basically no real change from when they went in.

Halliday cover

I’m off for the next few days to prepare for, then recover from, the party to end all parties. Lucy is one this Saturday and we’ve planned a Thanksgiving-style feast given that she was born on Thanksgiving Day.

While I’m off Gillian Halliday, our deputy regional editor, is going to be looking after my column. I trust her implicitly to do a good job and I wish her all the best as only the second female guest columnist. The other being former Lurgan Mail receptionist/secretary Jenna Flynn who give it her best shot in May 2011.

With Gillian being a big fan of homebaking and Homeland I expect her column to contain references to cakes and conspiracy theories. It may also contains traces of nuts.

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser was: the scene being described is a merry-go-round. To get to safety all you have to do is wait until it stops and get off.

Here’s this week’s teaser: Art Garfunkel buys three items in a department store for exactly £100. The second item costs half as much as the first item, and the third item is half as much as the second. How much did each one cost?