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Twitter and the fear of digital exclusion

I resisted, I really did. But eventually Twitter got me. One Tweet and I was in.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry. Congratulations. Twitter is the latest in a hoary line of ‘next-big' social-networking phenomena, currently in its white hot supernova phase. (Was it me or was there something symbiotic about Twitter going nuclear at the time ITV cast adrift a sickly Friends Reunited? Do you even remember Friendster?)

A quick straw poll of my football team revealed the following: a small percentage have been Tweeting for at least a year, the majority have only recently started, and a handful are confused by the whole thing. (And on me the tight strip is ‘undignified'.)

The non Tweeters were anxious not to miss out, but insecure about their technical aptitude. But while Twitter is indisputably a great deal of fun, it's no more. For all the genuine social interaction it affords, you're as well picking up the phone or - even better - using the face2face interface. First Life.

It's like Facebook. Conceived as a tool to help students plan their social lives, as such it functions perfectly. Organising a party? Facebook will help. But unless you can fit into tight jeans without damaging your fertility, you won't be able to use only it. Some people you'll have to email, others snail mail. You may call up a person or two.

And that's fine. New technology makes it easier to communicate, but also makes it possible to avoid human contact. That's sad.

Take email. I can't be the only person who now checks their inbox morning, noon, night, 365 days a year. Am I more efficient? My colleagues would say not. And the vast majority of emails that require a response can be more quickly dealt with over the phone, or face to face. Digital communication can be so much white noise. Twitter, witter.

So if you're not on Twitter (or Facebook or Myspace...) you're not losing out. And you'll have more time for the PCA forum - the one true useful social network.

Tweeters can follow PC Advisor at Twitter.com/PCAdvisor

And for the really time rich: Twitter.com/MattJEgan

Visit Broadband Advisor for internet news and reviews, and our independent broadband speed checker.

Face to face communication

Not utilising the face2face interface

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