Burnt bridges…

Can burnt or broken bridges truly be mended?  Can we really forget the wrongs of the past and move on to be friends again with those with whom we had fallen out with?

I only ask because I recently had a request on FaceBook from someone who I was pretty close friends with over 10 years ago.  We fell out and never spoke to one another again.  I was OK about this and accepted everything, even laughed when she returned all the pictures of me that she had taken at various parties over the years.

I am not going to go into the specific details of what happened, and to be honest, I really can’t remember everything!  Suffice to say our friendship ceased to exist and we moved on.

So, imagine my surprise when I get a request from her to be an FB friend!  Truly surprised, yes.  She is one person I did not expect to hear from and I wonder why she is reaching out to me again.

I wasn’t sure it was really her at first as she has changed her name slightly but I checked her profile, and it is who I think it is.  I am almost tempted to contact her to ask why she wishes to connect with me, albeit through a social networking site.

I am not adverse to reestablishing contact with someone, if we had just drifted apart, but someone with whom I fell out with, I am not sure.  When this happens, we move on, we assign that person to the past and our memories, and I have to admit that I am not always comfortable being friends again with people after we burnt that bridge, although I have done it and the friendship has worked out better than before.

I know that I should reach out, and believe me when I say this, I bear this person no ill feelings at all.  I hope that she is happy and healthy and has a good life (yes, I realise that sounds a bit sanctimonious but it comes from a good place!).  Part of me is flattered that she wants to connect with me again, but, equally, the cynical side of me wonders what her motives are in doing so.

I will ponder a bit on what I do now and leave her in the pending tray for a bit longer.  I might send her a message first and see how that goes.  Perhaps I should look at my other post on friendship again…!

“The black hit of space…”

I overheard a conversation on the bus the other day from these two ladies talking about how pathetic those of us that use social mediums to communicate with, are.  I would have happily ignored them but one of them said:

“She is always on Twitbook…”

I nearly burst out laughing at that and well, that was it, I had to listen to them then, and on and on they went about how people are stupid morons for living their lives through FB etc, never off their phones, always pressing buttons and not talking to anyone in the flesh and so on.

And it got me thinking; are we in control of how much we use Twitter, or does it control us?

For me, I would say that I am fully in control of Twitter, and I would also add that as far as I am concerned, Twitter is the phenomenon that has taken over in the appeal stakes to FaceBook.  I love that it is instantaneous and that it did not matter that I knew no one when I set up my account.  With FB, I always feel that there is some maiden aunt looking over my shoulder frowning at what I upload so although I’ll check it every day, I rarely post anything on there anymore.

I am fascinated by the freedom of Twitter; you really can say just about anything you like and even though I have read things that have caused me to take a sharp intake of breath, on the whole I think that the good eggs on Twitter far outweigh the nasty ones that lurk in undergrowth.  However, let’s not forget that the nasty ones can be utter vicious bastards and enjoy hurting others…

Of course people do tweet saying that they are leaving because they are either on Twitter all the time, or other people have annoyed them by posting nasty, rude and insulting comments.   It is a shame they feel they have to do that as they will no doubt have followers that really like what they post and don’t want to lose that connection with them.  Of course there is nothing to say that they cannot continue their friendship by swapping email addresses etc outside of this medium, and hopefully they will return to Twitter at some stage.  Some just like to take a breather for a few days, who doesn’t, we all need a break now and again, no harm in that!  Some have to leave due to illness, either themselves or family.  Totally acceptable in those times of stress.

The funny thing is that people do like to look down on others who use Twitter, FB or the myriad of other forms of cyber social networking.  They think we have no life outside of these mediums and call us sad and lonely.  I have had that said to me before and have had people laugh because I am on Twitter.

Well you can just fuck off with that idea!  I have as full and varied a REAL social life as I want to thanks.  I see those that I want to see as often as I want to and I consider Twitter  an extension of that.  If I don’t want to tweet I won’t and I don’t feel guilty about using it nor should I be made to feel less of a person either.  In addition, I would not have got around to writing this blog if I had not discovered Twitter and read the many wonderful blogs that other people write.  It would have stayed just another one of my ‘something that I want to do and will get round to doing one day’ projects.

Twitter is a powerful medium that helps get important messages out there and across the world in a blink of an eye.  It is also a great way to follow the famous and infamous, meet other like-minded people and build friendships.  It has a fluidity about it that FB does not have (well, in my opinion anyway, but what the hell do I know?).  I have met some really lovely people through it that I never thought I would have done and I hope to continue with that. 

Twitter is here to stay, so embrace it, enjoy it but don’t let it get you down; life is to short for that!

Twatting about on Twitter

I joined Twitter in April this year and so far have written over 2,250 tweets.  Admittedly alot of them have been replies to other people’s tweets as well as re-tweets done by me and to me, but I like to think I have contributed to the richness that is Twitter with my stupid banter and pictures.

I have a Facebook profile as well but I always felt that putting the odd comment, thought and status like remark on my Facebook page as I do on Twitter, would not only raise a few eyebrows but would get people contacting me asking me why I was putting up that shit on FB.  Especially as I know some of my friends there get irritated when their contacts advertise what they are doing along the lines of –

“I am going to cook rice for dinner tonight”

“Hoofuckingray, good for you!”

“Here’s a picture of a seagull”

“So fucking what!”

So, I looked for somewhere else to do that on and discovered Twitter. At the time I was not ready to write a proper blog, so thought this would be a good introduction to the art.

I wanted it to be an experiment and set up a profile without using my real name.  I was curious to discover if people really will follow people they don’t know based solely on the content of their tweets.  I know, I know, I was naive but I honestly was not sure how Twitter worked and had never been able to see the point of it before!

I chose LondonStanding (see below) as it is based on a bit of amusement between me and my sister when driving back from visiting family in Southend.  When you reach the Queen Elizabeth Bridge you can see London in the distance and because we love this old city, we would just nod and say to each other “still standing”.  Writing this now, I understand how stupid it sounds to outsiders, and it certainly is only a bit of emotional fluff that means nothing to anyone else but we liked it.  We still do.

So, my next job was to think about what I should put in my bio, which was originally “Living, Loving Looking at London Standing”, because I wanted to talk about things in this city of mine that make me laugh, make me smile, piss me off, highlight events etc.  I thought the bio quite clever at the time, however, I soon came to regard it as trite and rather pretentious!

One thing I did not want to do was to make my account private, I don’t judge others if they choose to do so, but I wanted to share my rubbish with the world – why should I suffer alone, eh?

My first few tweets again were an experiment as I referred to myself in the 3rd person – oh good grief, I really am an idiot, what a prat!  I would advise you not to troll through 2000 odd tweets to see the crap I wrote at the beginning.  Oh the shame, oh the shame!  And if you do, just remember that I will hunt you down and kill you if you unfollow me now.  I am very fond of my followers and don’t want to lose you!

I remember the feeling when I got my first follower, it was like winning a lottery, and I felt I had accomplished something.  On reflection, I wondered if they thought that I would be tweeting only about things to do and see in London, and as my style was evolving and changing, within a few weeks, they unfollowed me.

Apart from those I chose to follow that do let me know about things that I am interested in, I wanted to find some people who seemed to post random stuff like I wanted to do.  And over time, as I found more people like that, I looked at their style and realised that alot of them were really, really funny!  They posted videos and pictures and used words in a much cleverer way than I could.  There are two that immediately spring to mind, and I loved (and still love) their cross Twitter banter and these new people gave me ideas on how I could alter my style and allow my humour to put its head above the parapet and have a go.  I am in no way as good as them and I am not trying to copy them, but it is fun giving my madness free rein.  I still post about things I have done and places I have been to as I want to let others know about them so that they can go and find out for themselves.

I also realised that people use naughty language on Twitter and I know I can swear like a trooper, so it pleased me I was allowed to add the odd expletive on a public forum and no-one would bat an eyelid.  And if they did, they would soon unfollow me.  Ooh the freedom that gave me.  Not that I use bad language all the time on Twitter you understand, but having the freedom to choose to do so was good.

Well, that meant that I had to change my bio because the original was still rather po faced and misleading, and I was not happy with it.  So I added a little humour at the end to signify that I was not up my own arse all the time and crossed my fingers.  It seemed to work and I gained a few more followers and began to have little conversations with them now and again.

By now I was completely bored with my original bio so deleted it and started the transition to what it is now.  I wanted to incorporate my love of playing with words (again, not an expert) so over a couple of weeks, I revisited it and tweaked it until I was happy.  I might change it again but for the moment, meh, it’ll do!

P.S. since I wrote this post, I have changed my user name to Miss_Alaynius.