Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Tweetie Pie

We've got this new very efficient and obliging intern in the office who "speaks a smattering of Chinese" and is the epitomy of sharp sixties edginess despite being born in about 1992. He's also hip with all the new social networking sites through which the young stalk their ex boy/girlfriends and the old look, frankly, ridiculous - and within a day of arriving in the office, complete with Passionfruit Buttercream Viennese Whirls and Pistachio Shortbreads (left in the usual place), he had us signed up to Twitter and Wikipedia and given us a crash course in the lingo.

Despite being a whiz on Dreamweaver, proficient in Flash and a blogger from way back when I was unemployed, it took me three days to set up a Facebook Page for
Atlantic Books. So, needless to say, I felt somewhat extinct as I lumbered back to my end-of-Cretaceous-period-cave with several pages of instructions clenched under my withered forelimb (with possible third vestigial digit - sooo convenient those Wiki people) to lick the very few wounds I could reach with my massive, but clearly useless, skull.

The Facebook page is finally up and running but we now need a few fans, I told him.

'Then Twitter is ideal,' he announced. 'You can tweet about it and get people to fandango you...'

  'F*** off!' I said, hotly.

Intern or no intern, nobody but my own children talk to me like that.

'No Marion, you don't understand - you tweet on Twitter - I tweet, you tweet, past tense twat.'

For someone who can swear like a sailor on shore leave who suddenly discovers all the whores have got religion, I was profoundly shocked. 'You cannot be serious!' I said, coming over all John McEnroe.

'He's teasing you,' said Mathilda, gently, reminding me of the time I drew on my daughter's arm in biro and had my 82 year old mother convinced it was a tattoo, God what a beatch, I was (see not bitch but beatch - I'm getting down with the street slang, now). 'It's tweeted,' she assured me.

I am relieved, albeit momentarily, before I realise that I am actually having a proper conversation which involves declining a verb previously applied to small yellow canaries.

'So what's a twit, apart from a person who actually wastes their time doing this? I can't see the point of it!' I'm practically wailing.

Oh, sad, sad, old person I can hear them all think.

'You just say what you're doing now,' says the intern and he clicks on the screen and Lo, it rolls up - our
Twitter page.

'But who cares what I'm doing now. It's banal and stupid.'

'Why don't you send an update about your Facebook page.

'I'm not, absolutely and categorically not using the word fandango unless I'm in a Karaoke club doing Queen, and even then it needs to be a leaving party.'

'Okay, use fan then,' he instructs and I obey, slowly, like a child forming her first letters.

'It's done!' He is jubilant. I haven't felt so happy since I rode my bike without stablizers - for all of about two seconds before I see some of Atlantic's authors on there and discover that Kenan Malik is on Start The Week and George Monbiot is berating a Telegraph columnist. Somehow the announcement that

'with these Viennese Whirls you are spoiling us'
doesn't have quite the same import.
'You're looking very smart today, do you have an interview,' I ask the intern, trying to draw attention away from how utterly vacuous my life is and the fact that I've just advertised it.

'No, I always dress like this. According to an article I read in the Guardian Style Section - the Sixties are really, super, super cool at the moment,' he said, fingering his long pencil thin tie, and throwing himself into the statement with a full body swerve.
The gesture came back to me later that night when checking my email and finding another of his admonishments to twitter. I logged on to the page: We've now been joined by the Guardian, New York Review of Books and Christopher Hitchins who are all our followers. What shall I type that could possibly interest Christopher Hitchins?
THe answer, Marion, is NOTHING, repeat NOTHING, and yet...

(Bear in mind it's very, very late. Bear in mind I have had a date with a very nice lawyer that involved a bottle of wine. And Brandy. Bear in mind that all critical faculties were switched off when I accepted the date from the very nice lawyer a day earlier and have not yet been switched back on.)
I typed:

The intern read in the Guardian style section that sixties fashion for men was suddenly really super, super cool. 


quick as a flash, there was a response:
The intern has a name, Marion. And I believe I said 'hotnfresh'. :-P

He did, it's true, he did. And his name is Ian.
Note to self. Together with don't drink and dial, don't drink and text, there's a new caveat - don't drink and tweet. 
In fact, don't tweet at all, seems to be a good, general rule.

Especially when the Ubereditor swans out of his office and says: 'Marion, I see you're a tw*t.'

(You see, I had to put an asterisk in there to stop myself recoiling with shame and Fifth Form mortification and then bursting into tears.) The only consolation in this slur is that this would make the Ubereditor, my senior in this company, the even bigger tw*t.

Just say no folks. Nobody cares what you're ruddy doing. Face it. You're (mostly) just not that interesting.