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Anna Nolan: Funny, fascinating, warm, generous... irreplaceable Gerry

Gerry Ryan was one of the warmest, most engaging people I ever met.

I was on his show several weeks ago, as he wanted to talk about a small ad that was in a Catholic magazine.

The ad went something along these lines: 'Single man, widower, late 50s, would like to meet retired nun. Must have letter from the parish priest and local Garda station'.

For some reason, Gerry thought he and I would knock great craic out of this, so he called me on the phone and we talked about it live on his show.

As usual he was smart, cheeky (telling me that because I had been a nun I had an attractive quality about me), funny and fascinated by this advertisement.

We laughed our way through the item and it was good old-fashioned fun.

He finished off by telling me that my last documentary for RTE was wonderful.

There was absolutely no need for him to do this, but Gerry Ryan was one of those broadcasters that encouraged, supported and was pleased when his colleagues were doing well.

I remember him talking about Ryan Tubridy getting the Late Late, for which of course he would have been in the running. Gracious and generous can only describe his words.

Bizarrely I was about to do some reporting work for Gerry and the first piece I had been asked to do was on death.

We were to talk about the business of death and the process of embalming. What he felt about those things we will never know.

No one will fill three hours of radio a day the way he did. It was Ryan time, and sadly, that has gone.

Please leave me out of your tweeting...it's strictly for the birds

If I am injured or pass away over the next few months, please don't tweet about it.

Please have the decency to write to my mother or my partner, in the old-fashioned letter form or on a card.

You may discuss it among yourselves, or you might have a million and one far more interesting things to talk about -- but please don't punch in the letters "Anna Nolan RIP" and press send. I would turn in my casket.

Tweeting is for the young, the juvenile, the comedians of this world, the egotistical and the gossip mongers.

For heavens sake, just look at the word -- "Tweeting".

If it was called "Musing" or "Thinking", I might consider it as having some substance.

It is for those who cannot wait 10 seconds to gather their thoughts, and assess whether or not what they are tweeting should be written in black and white, (or Times New Roman on white new document).


It is the Tourette's guide to 21st-century communication -- think it, then say it.

There have been incidents recently where information has been sent into the virtual world that really should have stayed in the head.

The top Twitter gaffes include Hugh Jackman of Wolverine fame, saying he was enjoying lunch in Sydney by the water, when in fact he wasn't there at all and it was a member of his staff who was writing his tweets.

Former Tottenham player Darren Bent berated his boss Daniel Levy on Twitter, and was then put up for an £80,000 fine. And in politics, Scottish Labour candidate Stuart MacLennan was sacked over "offensive" tweets -- he moaned about having to go "up north" to his constituency, branded elderly people as "coffin dodgers", called local people "chavs" and insulted rival MP Nick Clegg.

Miriam O'Callaghan unfortunately tweeted Gerry Ryan's death before all his family had been informed. She has apologised for her actions, and was simply expressing her sadness and support for the family through the medium of the internet.


But this is the trouble with tweeting. She says she was in her car in a car park and was aware of the rumours that were flying around the chat rooms and message boards. She wanted to set the record straight.

It is too tempting to tweet information. It is like a drug that entices you to spill the beans -- whether that is information, feelings or vitriol. Tweeting is a noise that comes from birds as they communicate with the other birds -- and that's how it should remain. We need to be very careful how and when we tweet -- like letters, once they are out there, they can never be removed.

My sound advice for Bigotgate Brown

The golden rule when you have a microphone attached is to think that it is always on.

Gordon Brown made the stupid mistake of calling a woman a bigot behind her back and it was picked up by the microphones.

The sound man/woman is your best friend on a broadcast. Very occasionally, I would have to run to the loo during an ad break of The Afternoon Show.

And if my sound person had been in the mood for a prank -- well, viewers might have been treated to unusual sounds.

There are many urban myths about recordings of presenters/actors/news people who have forgotten that they are mic-ed up.

I'm sure there is a book or two out there that sound people could write to tell us all the secrets they have learned.

And there would be far more interesting details than calling someone a bigot.