Dr Anne Brunton, @CriminologyUK, tweets because she loves a Twitter “free-for-all” (#WIT20)

Dr Anne Brunton, @CriminologyUK, is a Criminal Justice and Organisational specialist. She describes herself as intelligent, analytical, funny and very angry – almost always in post production.

You can see an example of her work here (p.35)

From Compuserve to Twitter

Twitter was an unknown world to me when I joined. However, once I dived in it was a very familiar environment due to much earlier online experiences. I had acquired my first PC in 1995 with 8Mb of hard drive (‘more than you’ll ever need’) and a modem (‘you’ll be able to speak to people all over the world’ me: ‘ohhhhh’).

Surprisingly that is exactly what I did and in those early days I joined the world of online chat rooms with firstly Compuserve and then AOL.  Everything they now say about those early chat rooms is actually true they were a mad, exciting dash for information and exchange of views and values.

They were like being in a drunken cocktail bar where people were inordinately chatty. They could also be quite cliquey and fairly quickly “rooms” developed characters and people would vie to get into the coolest room (there was often a queue), well I know I did. I was young.

 Incredible expertise

So actually Twitter represents the best of these qualities the vitality the ‘free-for-all’ the limber exchange of opinion and knowledge, the incredible expertise. You can or could still chat to people quite “famous” now with “verified” bios although I took a policy in those long ago chat rooms to just accept that people were who they said they were.

However, soon you realise that the most exciting people are those known or anonymous tweeps speaking the truth from dark governmental dungeons, from beacons of voluntary sector service and those who have a special personal interest – find them and stick to them like glue.

I tweet for me

I tweet to ‘tweet’ views and opinions but also to chat it’s my Compuserve hangover and I’m not sure how it is for followers – dull at times I would think. However, I tweet for myself for my own enjoyment, to state opinions, to shout, to laugh, to judge, to be angry to express political unrest and to comment and observe – and in the last three years those things haven’t changed.

The worst thing about twitter is probably the lack of inflection that can be conveyed in 140 characters. Therefore it is actually quite easy to offend. It’s a casual quick and dirty process so apologies sometimes come too late and opportunities to pour oil on troubled waters are sometimes not found.

Twitter is made for us Brits

I am called @CriminologyUK and at the time I started I was firmly ensconced in the Criminal Justice field – that is no longer the case but it is troublesome to give up a “handle” when you have crafted it with such diligence. I follow people who are of direct interest to me or the fields I’m interested in, criminology, justice, social policy, welfare, policing, NHS, housing and disability.

I also love a cynic and as my friend @GerontologyUK says there is something about Twitter which perfectly fits the vim, vigour and quips of everyday British folk.

A twitter feed should be sent out to Mars as a representation of the fears, concerns, passions and amusements of earthlings.

It would be unfiltered, numerous and exhausting but would be a more honest interpretation of everyday life than other more sanitised sources.

Twitter is a smorgasbord

If I had any advice – I would say – Tweet for yourself. Tweet for fun. Don’t worry about your followers. Twitter is a casual medium in the main. There’ll be a few people that you love and love you in return but in general there’s a lot of dipping in and out. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a buffet of light snacks not a filling meal. It’s a starting point. A smorgasbord. Get tasting. Yum.

Finally blocking – its generally frowned upon especially on short acquaintance but the way I look at it – “this is not my job”.

I’m just enjoying myself. If someone is really annoying – employ the blocking manoeuvre.

Put your hand up and say “no more”.

However, this is a fairly rare occurrence and then…

Tweet on. 😉


Next Wednesday: Sally Lewis, Chief Executive of Avon & Somerset Probation Trust, @CEOLewis on why she tweets.


You can read others in the Why I Tweet series here.


Get Russell’s free guide to Twitterfectiveness.

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