Monday, 25 July 2011

The Women of Twitter

I bloody love Twitter. I love Grace Dent, too. So when she wrote a book about Twitter, well, that was like heaven in paperback form.


When I joined Twitter last December, Grace was one of the first people I followed. Not deliberately – but so many other people I knew followed and Retweeted her, that I needed to join in to keep up. And never once has my finger hovered over the ‘Unfollow button, which it has for many others.

Grace’s book, How To Leave Twitter, is brilliant for many reasons. Here’s some of them:

- It’s very funny.
- It’s very funny because it’s so true to life.
- If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re screwed.
- Grace loves Twitter but she knows where to draw the line.
- The line is somewhere near the WiFi ‘off’ button.
- But she always comes back, because that’s the magic of Twitter.

Twitter is an amazing network of people you know, people you didn’t know you wanted to know, a few desperate celebrities trying to cling to the last hint of fame to bolster their flagging egos now they haven’t had a TV show for 15 years (Wincey Willis, I’m looking at you), and, of course, the lovely Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet (who I heart. Big time).

Grace acknowledges all of this, and more. Because she also recognises that Twitter is governed by an amazing network of witty, snarky, wise and savvy women – who know what’s going on in the world, who’s doing it, and what needs to be done to make things better. Which is why the strongest part of her wonderful book is where she laments that all too often women are denied a voice on TV – yet on Twitter, we can talk as long as we like, unedited.

As she says, on TV women are often “screen parsley stuck on the side of the plate”, pointing out that “no one would really notice if you scraped them into the bin”. Grace points out there are hours and hours of TV screen time every day devoted to men (“potatoes in jumpers”) being able to tell us what they think. BUT WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? Since no one wants to hear what we have to say, we’re all on Twitter… in our millions.

Here are some of my favourite funny women on Twitter: @gracedent, @scouserachel, @DawnHFoster, @caitlinmoran, @soul_of_twit, @sueperkins, @gail_brand. There are many more, though. MANY.

(In the interests of equality, I should stress that I also know there are some amusing men on Twitter, too: @wowser, @GarethAveyard, @RealBobMortimer, @Headspill, @StephenMangan… oh, and some others.)

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