Why dump @StephenFry & keep @LlamaKevin?

I joined Twitter in April 2009 because I was lonely and depressed. I wasn’t looking for love or a social life though, I was (and still am) married to the love of my life and don’t particularly like social commitments. I had started studying with the Open University again, had three children – one of whom was still pre-school – and I was suffering terribly from the recent vicious illness and subsequent death of my father. I wanted to share experiences and knowledge with like-minded people.
I was also quite simply over-powered by an enormous desire to write full-time and looked on Twitter for other writers. Without a clue where to start, I followed a few famous authors.

I also followed a few comedians and celebrities that I admired, such as Stephen Fry, Bill Bailey, David Mitchell and Bill Oddie (Bill Oddie, mainly because he was at school with my dad).

It took almost a year to get right but eventually I was tweeting with other OU students, juggling parents, writers and generally fun, intelligent people. I began to notice that complete strangers were often as funny, fun and intelligent (if not more so) than many celebrities and my followers and followees lists became more and more made up of male and female writers (mainly chatty females!), natural comedians, life observers and caring, sharing REAL people. I stopped following most of the famous people because they turned out to not be very interesting or obsessed with footie.

I am interested by other people’s recommendations as to who to follow and will follow fellow writers first and foremost. But I also follow back if a local person follows me or if I like the comments in someone’s twitter stream. People that write – in whatever phase of their career – are very interesting to me and I follow with great interest that first idea for a novel, a competition long-list/short-list/win, short story submission success, experiences of struggling with a family, etc, etc… I also love the sharing of useful and helpful information and websites. The ‘Retweet’ facility – although it may annoy some, has proved very useful.
I have a handful of favourite people on Twitter and they are in a private (at least I hope it’s private!) list. They to me are like real friends. I hope they feel the same.

By far THE best thing that has happened to me this year is the sharing of my writing and the reading of other people’s. I read a lot of writers’ blogs. I don’t always get time to comment so I send them a Twitter message or I retweet a link to show my appreciation. Feedback is essential to writers and I love it.
I have gained so much confidence this year from people who have read the Haiku on this blog that I thought were rubbish and I now participate in a weekly flash fiction group and let others know by using the hashtag #FridayFlash and posting to the fabulous @jmstro ‘s Utopia site

The support and camaraderie have been tremendous.

Today it finally became clear that there wasn’t anyone I wanted to follow if I couldn’t interact with them. If I want to know what Stephen Fry is up to there are plenty of retweets of his comments. I love him to bits but let’s face it – it’s a one-way street! I have also dumped any authors that don’t interact or reply to my messages. They are either too busy or too rude or both. The lovely ones remain (smile).

By the way Llama Kevin is real.

16 thoughts on “Why dump @StephenFry & keep @LlamaKevin?

  1. I think we’ve both had a pretty similar Twitter experience. I’ve only recently begun to feel that I’ve found my place on it, together with the people I want to follow. It is about talking to like-minded people and sharing experiences and useful links. I’m not interested in people who want to broadcast to me and not engage with me. Great post, Rachel.

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  2. Yay! Glad I wasn’t dumped *goes off to check*. I do wonder how people like Stephen Fry can interact with the 53,413 people he follows and I guess the answer is that he can’t.

    Great post, Rachel. I love Twitter too 🙂

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  3. I’ve never been a big fan of ‘celebrity’ as something to be worthy of admiration for it’s own sake, so I must be one of the few people who never did the ‘follow the famous’ thing. I have come across a few celebs as I’ve gone along, but mainly for the occasional interesting and amusing thing they’ve said.

    I know that Stephen Fry is a big champion of Twitter, but I often wonder what his motives in promoting it are, because his Twitter is a different animal altogether to what the rest of us experience.

    I’m not really interested if Stephen Fry is flying back from the USA today, or whatever some other celeb is doing in their social life. These people have access to publicity almost on tap, and to them Twitter is really just an extension of that.

    The real people on Twitter are much more interesting. I like the idea of getting to know the ‘complete strangers’ and leaving the so-called celebrities as strangers to me.

    Real people are more likely to say interesting and amusing things about a variety of subjects. If a celebrity ever says anything interesting or amusing, there’s a very good chance it will be about themselves, because it’s in the interests of their publicity to make it so, and to be honest, it’s something I can do without.

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  4. Brilliant post, almost perfectly reflects my own experience other than your sad beginning (very sorry to hear of your loss).

    You are definitely on my list of caring, funny and supportive people, as well as a talented writer, and twitterers like you are the reason I love it so much myself.

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  5. I’ve not come across you before Rachel but clicked on @robertz RT of your tweet as I too follow @llamakevin. I share your sentiments in your blog and found that I too have grown a network of non-celebs not just in the SW but all over, who frequently make me laugh with their wit and wisdom. There are a loit of funny and caring people out there I am glad to say.

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  6. I absolutely adore this post. I agree with all of it completely – I could have written it myself! I feek like I have made some really valuable and important friendships via Twitter, and I too have one of those private lists.

    Well done for sharing what a lot of us seem to be thinking.

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  7. I think your blog really shows what twitter is about, as I also only read it because of @robertz RT and I too follow @StephenFry and @Llamakevin. I have been thinking about weeding out some of those I follow as I find it harder and harder to read tweets, therefore missing the good tweets.
    So, goodbye Stephen and co….

    Thanks for the blog!

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  8. Twitter’s terrific. I love it and have been lucky enough to meet up with lots of the people I’ve ‘met’ on there. It’s a bit like having a good old natter around the water cooler with the people you really like. If you miss anything, there’s no pressure to go back and catch up.

    And I quite agree; real people are invariably far funner than slebs. I’m going to seek out Llama Kevin now!

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  9. Your blog got retweeted by David Hewson a really nice author who does engage with people on Twitter and has a lovely blog.

    I totally agree about Mr Fry et al. I followed him because others told me he was funny. He’s not, at least on Twitter he’s not.

    I have found some nice celebs but only through my interests rather than because they are celebs. Paul Potts is a lovely man who will always follow people back and will chat away with anyone. Takes nice pictures of places he’s been. But in the main real people are lovelier.

    I’ve had some great support from total strangers on Twitter. Long may it last.

    Nice Blog

    Mary

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  10. I identified with a lot of this, and notice that most of the other comments reflect this view. This has to be good writing to have that effect. I only started tweeting by accident (that’s another story), but it is now particularly the writing community – including you! – who keep me there, although the jokes, banter & companionship help as well. Much of this article completely sums up what I feel.

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  11. Just want to say thanks very much to everyone that’s commented on this. I always read responses with interest.
    This post not only broke my highest ever visitor stats record but it doubled it.
    I’d just like to add that I don’t mean to call all people that have a lot of followers rude. Hope it didn’t come across that way. I also want to mention that some people I am very fond of use Twitter in different ways to me and it’s all fine (barring unnecessary aggression) as far as I’m concerned.

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  12. Hi Rachel,

    Couldn’t agree with you more, I feel that sometimes I tweet into a big black hole, from which responses rarely emanate! However, I will keep tweeting – as every now and then I do get a reply and usually they are either gracious, heart warming, encouraging or just really funny! Another coincidence – I know Llamakevin personally and have been working with him for the past 18 months as my business mentor! Great chap and I’m seeing him tomorrow!All the best,
    Chris
    @thainleisure

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