This week, has seen The Independent newspaper reveal their Twitter 100 list, using a calculated formula to determine who Britain’s most influential Tweeters are.
Inevitably, this has provoked a reaction. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it, it’s just a bit of harmless fun. (Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m gutted I wasn’t included on it)
So, to commemorate this, I’m going to do my own alternative Twitter list of who to follow, and the best and worst aspects of Twitter.
I signed up for Twitter in February 2009 after hearing about it in the media and was a bit slow on the uptake. My sole purpose for using it was to plug my Flickr site everytime I uploaded something, and to plug my blog, which was then hosted on Bebo.
Gradually, I got more and more into it, after discovering the various news and information sites using it, and began to become more interactive, and moved away from using it as a tool to promote “Brandrew”
Twitter, like any other social media site is a hard sell to those not on it. You really need to use it to see the benefits.
THE TWITTER GOAL
Like a lot of people, I use Twitter for getting football scores. It would be fair to say, that watching football on Twitter is the new watching football on Ceefax, which is handy, as I will mourn Ceefax when it ceases to exist later in the year.
My first “Twitter goal” came during the Manchester Derby in April 2010.
I was at The Oval that day for the Irish Cup Semi-Final between Linfield and Coleraine. That match kicked-off 15 minutes before the game at the City Of Manchester Stadium.
As I left The Oval, I checked the score and it was 0-0. As it approached what would be 93 minutes, I checked again, still 0-0.
I then hit refresh on my phone, and there was a flurry of tweets alluding to the fact there had been a goal, but not actually saying who to.
Tweets such as “1-0”, “What a dramatic finish”, “Knew there would be a goal” flashed up, as well as one saying “This could be a definitive goal in the title race”
That made me think City had won 1-0 and finished off United’s fading title hopes. I hit refresh again, just to put me out of my misery, and a tweet flashed up “LATEST : Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United (Scholes 90)”
The Twitter goal. A 21st century method of loading up Ceefax and hitting refresh on the latest scores page in the hope that your team have scored.
As you will have guessed, I love having instant access is one of my favourite things. I do have other uses for it. I have instant access to news sites, as well as events listings, and finding out info about TV recordings or free events in Belfast which I may not have been previously aware of.
Also, any question or query I may have, usually can get answered instantly, which is bloody great.
Twitter isn’t perfect and has some negative points. One of my main gripes is RT Phishers, who pester celebs for an RT. Worse than that, celebs usually grant these requests, thus filling up my timeline with a list of people who are celebrating their birthday or need cheering up because their cat has just died, when frankly, I couldn’t give a flying fuck.
Birthday requests and shout-outs are for local radio, not for Twitter.
As well as that, there is usually some sob story followed by “worth an RT?” – Ugh, just fuck off.
“Or, I need followers, please RT” – You could always try being interesting, funny, witty or informative. I’ve never followed anyone on the basis of a celebrity RT.
Also taking the biscuit is “Can I get an RT in memory of (Dead Celebrity) so we can get #ripdeadcelebrity trending?” – As sad as a celebrity death is, a hashtag isn’t going to make things better.
If I was a celebrity, I’d have a strict “No RTs” policy on Twitter.
One day, all marketing campaigns and strategies will simply be “Let’s ask Dermot O’Leary for an RT”
As much as I loathe to give him a chapter, it is quite funny to see him getting owned on Twitter. Though, it should be pointed out, it’s the intellectual equivalent of beating San Marino at football.
I don’t follow him, but people in my timeline RT him. He wrote a double page spread in the Mail On Sunday about being “Twitter pals” with Wayne Rooney.
Usually, he Tweets a “Joke” about Rooney looking like Shrek. Rooney then usually ignores him or replies “Fuck off” – Ahhh, what pals.
Morgan manages the impressive feat of making me feel sorry for Arsenal and their supporters. Some of his classics as self-appointed Gooner Spokesman include boasting about Arsenal demolishing Newcastle (they ended up drawing 4-4) and mocking Swansea just after Arsenal went 1-0 up (Swansea cam back to win 3-2)
NORTHERN IRELAND MEDIA ON TWITTER
Of the two main broadcasters in Northern Ireland, UTV were the first to really “Get” and embrace Twitter. So much so, that the opening credits to UTV Live now feature the show’s hashtag (#utvlive) and profile names appear on captions when reporters appear on screen.
Most of their reporters are on the site, and manage to strike the balance of forwarding on stories (local and national/international of interest) that have just come in through the newswire, as well as tweeting from the scene of stories they are covering, and from court cases (judge permitting)
They also have an automated account posting up stories added to their website and a “What’s on now?” account, like a cyber continuity announcer, announcing what’s on now, and other programming news. BBCNI have since launched a similar account to do BBC 1 NI and BBC 2 NI.
BBCNI were a bit slow off the mark but have come to embrace Twitter with most of their journalists and shows having an account, now signing off Newsline bulletins with a link to their Twitter account (as well as Facebook)
News Letter, mainly through Rebecca Black (@hackedoffhack) have begun to use Twitter to preview the following day’s front page from 10pm onwards. Belfast Telegraph doesn’t do this and have become very defensive in their content, trying to urge people to wait to buy the paper edition in the morning before posting links to stories on their website.
For UK wide newspapers, Sky News now posts the following days covers each night.
Belfast Telegraph, News Letter and Irish News are well represented on Twitter in terms of personnel, and most local papers within Northern Ireland are now starting to embrace Twitter.
NORTHERN IRELAND FOOTBALL
Irish League football has embraced Twitter. So much so, that Leon Knight got a ban (which was later rescinded) for comments made on the site.
A podcast, The Social Club (@thesocialclubni) has proved so successful, it has now moved to UTV’s website. It’s four contributors @holtchris @keith192 @markjmcintosh and @laurejames all have an active Twitter presence.
My own club, Linfield, doesn’t have an official Twitter account, but the unofficial account @linfield_fc offers fans an excellent service on matchdays if you can’t get to the game.
Linfield supporters site South Stand Says @southstandsays is also worth a follow.
Of the dedicated sports departments of print and television, worth a follow are @beltelsportsdes @utvsport @newslettersport and @bbcsportni
Of journalists, Graham Luney (@grahamluneybt) has been described as “Influential” by Joe Brolly. Not sure if that’s an endorsement or not. It’s unknown what Joe Brolly’s opinion of @garethfullerton is, but mine is that he’s worth a follow.
Liam Beckett (@liam_beckett) is worth a follow for his rants on the price of coffee in Belfast. His commentary partner on Radio Ulster Joel Taggart is a recent convert to Twitter (@taggartjoel)
Other journalists worth following include @ourlogie @ulsterrobbo @andrewgillan
As part of their sponsorship with the national team @vauxhallni is an official account with news and competitions for supporters. The IFA’s official account can be found @officialirishfa
Players and clubs worth a follow include @colerainefc @matthew_tipton @distilleryworld @ballymenaunited
Also worth a follow is @talkinballs and @theirishlegue
Match Of The Day @bbcmotd now has it’s own official account with goal updates and a running order for the show, which is always handy. For Premier League updates, it’s worth following @premierleague
There are numerous football parody accounts on Twitter, two of the best are Jamie Redknapp @literallyjamie and @thebig_sam
For statistics, trivia and oddities, @mirkobolesan is a must follow. For in-game statistics, it’s hard to look past @optajoe
Journalists and Broadcasters worth following include @stancollymore @iainmacintosh @danwalkerbbc and @henrywinter
Four Four Two (@fourfourtwo) is the best to follow of the football magazines out there.
Northern Ireland music is well represented on Twitter with alternative ulster (@aumagazine) and it’s editor (@_chrisjones_) both frequent tweeters.
Northern Ireland’s two biggest outdoor concerts, Belsonic (@belsonicbelfast) and Tennen’t Vital (@tennentsvital) are both on Twitter, keeping fans up to date of line-ups and ticket details.
For concert news, @mcd_productions is worth following.
For local music writing, @edwinmcfee is worth following
Local bands that tweet regularly and are worth a follow include @wondervillains @timwheeler1977 @ktcarnival and @tdcinemaclub
If you love the repeats of the 1977 Top Of The Pops currently running on BBC Four, then @yesitsnumberone and @totp1977 are a must follow.
For general music news @qmagazine and @popjustice are worth a follow.
Journalists worth following include @paulreesq @eve_barlow @petepaphides and @alexispetridis
As previously stated, UTV have really embraced Twitter.
@utvonair does what it says, and is an online continuity announce for what’s on now, and coming up later on the channel.
UTV journalists that are regular Tweeters and worth a follow are
@dt_utv @markmcfadden @judith_utv @jamie_utv @kenreid_utv @aideen_utv @pamballantine @sharon_utv @ruthgorman_utv @saraneill_utv @alifleming_utv @marcmallett_utv @hagan_utv and @paulclark_utv
Not to be outdone, BBCNI are also represented on Twitter.
@bbcnievents keeps people up to date with recordings and events, and how they can apply for tickets while @bbconeni is their online continuity announcer.
Journalists and presenters worth following are
@jimfitzbiz @lindseyha @mlchealth @jolong03 @tv_natasha @alansimpsonbbc @nialfoster @markdevenport
NORTHERN IRELAND JOURNALISTS/NEWSPAPERS
Northern Ireland journalists now in England and further afield that are worth a follow include @illneelyitv @yolympicorla @skyman64 @jenofcroths @kellyallen01@Eamonn_forde @eamonnholmes and @mrgordonburns
Special mention to @paul_gilmour who is set to join Sky Sports News
Ivan Little (@bigivanlittle) is a phem, phenon, phe, femon, phenomenon.
Unreality TV (@unrealitytv) is a TV blog based in Belfast and well worth folowing.
Journalists and publications based in Northern Ireland include @bmoney_times @janedaybreak @saragirvin @connollymaeve @maureencoleman1 @mrsghenderson @nicolarice82 @news_letter @hackedoffhack @sineaddoyle @kimsshowbizlife @weemcg @thesundaylife @banbridgechron and @gomagonline
Of UK papers, @theipaper is worth a follow, as are @gracedent and @caitlinmoran
For showbiz and celebrity, @deanpiper is worth a follow.
If you enjoy your news light-hearted and ripping the piss, you should follow @newsthump
Danny Baker (@prodnose) was made for Twitter, and never fails to entertain. Classic gags include breaking the news that busty girls in your local area waiting to chat were considering withdrawing their advertising from News Of The World due to the phonehacking scandal and breaking the news that a riotous mob had tried to set a barbecue store ablaze during the Tottenham Riots, but it just wouldn’t go up in flames. A must follow. Justin Moorhouse (justinmoorhouse) is also worth following
For news (@itvnews) while Gay Times Magazine (gaytimesmag) is also worth following for TV commentaries. They come into their own during X-Factor.
Manchester United are well represented on Twitter with players (past and present) and many journalists on the site.
Of players, @fizzer18 @themichaelowen and @gnev2 are worth following
From the media side of the fence, @andymitten and @nickcoppack are worth following.
For a supporter’s view @redissue @bbcredwednesday and @unitedrant are worth following
In you love topical and hilarious jpegs, then @beardedgenius is your man
The Gods in Blue.
Get following @aburnsey14 @geoff20man @kris_lindsay @billyjoe_12 @carvill88 @spidermonkey888 @mulgrew22 @gaulty5
The world of politics has embraced Twitter, with the vast majority of Northern Ireland politicians using Twitter.
These are complimented with party accounts as well. Most Northern Ireland politicians usually engage with followers in debates, or if they have a query.
That said, if I needed to contact a politician about a business matter, I’d prefer to go through an official channel such as a phone call or e-mail.
Last October, Martina Anderson tweeted that she getting ready to appear as a panellist on the BBC TV show ‘Questions and Answers’
If you haven’t worked it out yet, it was Question Time she was booked to appear on.
Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) has become a massive Twitter success story, you often wonder how people watched Question Time without Twitter. It is commonplace for the Trending Topics during the show’s broadcast to be exclusively QT related.
It is always a joy to hear David Dimbleby speak about Hashtags and Tweets, as if he knows what he’s talking about.
The show has inspired a parody Twitter account (@dimblebot), a robotic version of David Dimbleby who frequently “Defeats” and “Eliminates” his panellists.
Andrew Neil (@afneil) is worth a follow
Many of the local journalists and news organisations previously mentioned RT local politicians as part of their work.
If you want to know what Christine Bleakley is up to but can’t be bothered buying Sunday Life, then you should follow the woman herself (@clbleakley)
Former Hollyoaks star Gerard McCarthy (@gerard_mccarthy) is very funny and worth a follow, though he is currently taking a Twitter sabbatical for lent. The Blame Game’s Jake O’Kane is well worth a follow (@jakeokane)
There are many public service on Twitter, with BBCNI providing Travel (@bbcnitravel) and Weather (@newslineweather)
Other public services include Peelers (@policeserviceni) and Met Office (@metofficeni)
If you love information about delayed buses and trains, then (@translink_ni) is the Twitter account for you.
To find out what people in Northern Ireland are Tweeting about, then Trendsmap (@trendsbelfast) is a must follow. Be warned, it’s usually Harry Styles and Justin Bieber.
Happy Tweeting, hope this has helped you find some accounts you previously didn’t know existed.
And I shall end on a shameless plug. You can follow me on @andrewastewart