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Melanie Morris: It's nerdy, boring and irritating. I'm showing Twitter the door

"Follow us on Twitter" ... possibly the four most annoying words any business can string together right now. It tries to imply that they are 'with it' 'cool', and embracing 'new media'. Groan.

As so many commercial ventures have already invaded my post box, my email and my mobile phone, why in God's name do I want even more exposure to their promotional spam or white-noise chatter?

Twitter has become, for me, what Kryptonite is to Superman. It drives me mental. And while I know I don't have to log on, knowing it's around is enough to make me steam.

I joined Twitter a year ago, signing up because I was told it was the Next Big Thing. From my account I can see that I've 'tweeted' (ridiculous jargon) a total of 83 times, the last one at 5.37am on September 16, 2009, (hello?), exclaiming, "Declan Ganley is a really annoying, argumentative man". The rest of my musings aren't much better. I don't think I've logged on since, and my 137 followers are probably better off for it.

Let's face it, following someone on Twitter is a surefire way to go off them. If they're an acquaintance, you'll soon start to think they are incredibly nerdy, incredibly pompous, or, for those who 'tweet' (agh!) in txt -- rly thk. Follow a celebrity, and soon you'll feel sorry for them. How can people so seemingly fabulous be so desperate to document the minutiae of their lives for people they don't even know?

When I joined Twitter, the rebel in me refused to join the herd and follow Stephen Fry or Barack Obama, the two poster-boys for this new social networking phenomenon. But as an admirer of Tim Lovejoy's sarcy humour on BBC2's Something For The Weekend, I thought I might have found a kindred spirit. How utterly disappointing, then, to see that he spends his life tapping endless sports links into a mobile device. Surely a man about town who's so devilishly acerbic that he should have better (or more risque) things to do?

Equally, I found that by following bloggers such as Holy Moly or Perez Hilton, I didn't get fresh nuggets of gruesome gossip, but instead, endless links to their sites. Fair enough, but I don't have the time or the patience to click through. I want instant gratification, which is just what Facebook gives me. Comments are there for all friends to see, and all to respond to. A far more democratic, and more fun, process.

There's something incredibly conceited in assuming the world might want to know what you're doing. Or watching. To me, posting something on Twitter is the same as being the class swot who sits, arm bolt upright, shouting "me, me!" whenever the teacher asks a question. In tweet-speak, I'd direct an @ in front of all techie and media types here -- show-offs who want us to think they're just brilliant. Oops. What does that make me with my smartarse Declan Ganley comment?

For something that accommodates just 160 characters of prattle at a time, Twitter is far more irksome and labour-intensive to work around than other social networking sites.

The staccato return on effort invested is just not worth it. What's the point of all this clicking backwards and forwards? No decent (or indecent) photo albums to stalk a la Facebook, no embarrassing, out-of-date blogs or personal profiles as get left up on bebo. Twitter is the virtual equivalent of picking up fag-ends of a conversation. Lily Allen says she is retiring from Twitter. Well, as of yesterday, she was still going strong. Ditto Mr Fry.

I haven't deleted my account yet, but as I write this I wonder why not. Part of me thinks I may yet miss an online revolution. Or it'll come in handy some time in the future. Or I'll want to stalk someone.

But like clothes that fester in the back of your wardrobe until you can bring yourself to deliver them to Oxfam, it's time to face facts.

I'm never going to need Twitter. I'm tweeting off ...

Melanie Morris is the editor of IMAGE magazine and, oh yes, melaniemorris can no longer be followed on www.twitter.com


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