ROBERT DILLON: How tweet it is

This newspaper is no place for cheap, tacky self-promoters or brazen publicity stunts.

Nonetheless, Sporting Declaration has now joined Twitter and following me, dear reader, could prove to be the best decision you ever made.

It could change both our lives.

Indeed, by following this columnist on Twitter you could win $10 million. *

The only problem is that anyone who follows me will need a GPS, given that I am totally lost when it comes to this tweeting caper.

I signed up a few weeks ago, having begrudgingly reached the realisation that it is a case of sink or swim as this social media tsunami builds to a crescendo.

People at work had started talking behind my back.

I didn’t do Twitter. Or Facebook.

What a weirdo.

‘‘Dillon the dinosaur,’’ was the general consensus. ‘‘They’ll have to make him redundant.’’

Or, ‘‘Have you seen his mobile phone? I think he found it on a council clean-up pile.’’

Finally, I caved in. I agreed to give Twitter a shot.

If it’s good enough for Warney, I figured, it’s good enough for me.

So I set up my account, @robertdillon174, and sent out a debut tweet to announce my new presence to the world.

Within minutes, I had my first follower, a lovely young lady from Alabama who apparently had no interest in sport but sounded very deep and philosophical before she transformed into a barrage of porn spam.

Given I was surrounded by teenage kids, this was all highly embarrassing. Or at least I pretended it was.

But I put this down as a teething problem and continued to take my first, tentative steps as a Twit.

Three weeks on, I’m still very much an L-plater. I have sent 20 tweets and have 41 followers, almost half of whom are work colleagues or family members.

Fortunately I have always subscribed to the theory that quality comes before quantity.

And to those 41 very special people, don’t worry, I will never forget that you were there from the start of this magical journey together.

And when my brand is recognised worldwide and I float my Twitter account on the stock exchange, rest assured that you will be given first option at buying shares.

I’ve always been kind of rock-solid like that.

But at this early juncture the protocols of Twitter remain a mystery to yours truly.

There is no instruction manual and nobody to hold your hand while you learn the ropes. I still can’t tell a hash tag from a hash brown.

Mind you, I’ve always been technologically challenged. It’s an achievement just to remember my log-in password each day.

Even from this formative (and baffled) viewpoint, I have observed that Twitter does not seem to be a level playing field.

Warney, for instance, has 750,000 followers but follows only 185 people (all female and blonde, funnily enough).

That hardly seems fair to me. Where is the quid pro quo?

And here we come to the first harsh lesson for any rookie Twit.

Just because you follow a famous celebrity and can stalk them from the comfort of your own iPhone, it doesn’t mean they have the slightest interest in knowing you or replying to your tweets.

Especially if you have only 41 followers.

The theory, I guess, is that if you have loads of followers it must mean you are an interesting/important personality.

If your followers are outnumbered by those you follow, then it would suggest you have all the appeal of a full-blown leper at a bikini pageant.

It’s like the chicken and the egg debate. Which comes first, thousands of followers or a high profile, or vice versa?

And how does a social outcast with 41 (valued) followers summon the courage to tweet someone in a far more salubrious orbit, such as Jennifer Hawkins?

Another puzzle to ponder is what happens to all this cyber text once it has been tweeted.

For every incoming tweet or new follower, I seem to get an email alerting me to the fact.

Millions and millions of people must go through the same process. Where does all this data end up once it has been deleted?

My hunch is that it’s floating around in the atmosphere, causing global warming.

Then we get to Twitter content.

What exactly is it that you want to say?

This is a crucial decision because the whole world can read whatever you send out. Spelling mistakes, warts and all.

And if your tweeting fails to meet expectations, your followers will deliver the ultimate snub and hit the ‘‘unfollow’’ button.

It’s a fickle business.

There seem to be several different categories of Twit.

Celebrities build armies of followers simply by posting photos of what they eat for breakfast.

The media use it to break news and pat themselves on the back. It is the future of journalism, or so I am told.

Some people seem happy to tweet out every waking thought.

And then there are the Twitter loose cannons, like Willie Mason and English footballer Joey Barton, who create headlines if a day passes when they haven’t sent out an abusive tweet.

Fortunately political correctness has always been my strong suit, so there is no chance of me straying down a similar casualty-strewn path.

For me, at this stage it is just a case of trying to merge into the Twitter traffic without causing a major pile-up. Feel free to jump on the bandwagon. By tonight, I’d like to think @robertdillon174 will be ‘‘trending’’.

Whatever that means.

* For further information, visit www.powerball.com.au.

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