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I Tweet, You're a Twit, He's a Twat

Fermat typing into Twitter 'I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which Tw'

Twitter made David Cameron more notorious last week than if he'd been nabbed claiming an entire islandful of duck islands on expenses. Interviewed on breakfast radio about Twitter last Wednesday, he ended up up using a word that although it denotes an item of anatomy owned by half the human race, has at various times been banned from radio and television:

The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it — too many twits might make a twat.

Twitter has been on my mind since I read Spectator journalist Rod Liddle's feature It is the narcissistic middle-aged, not the young, who love Facebook and Twitter. One of the things that infuriates Liddle is Stephen Fry's tweets about what he ate for lunch and dinner.

Liddle claims that very few teenagers use Twitter, because they have realised that:

For Twitter to be patronised by young people, it would need to be far more purposeful than it is, more pragmatically useful. But instead, it was dreamed up by — and used almost exclusively by — the most self-obsessed, narcissistic, self-important generation that ever walked this earth, the generation which is forever poised just outside the confessional ready to divulge personal information of great weight to the whole world ("I have just tied up my shoelaces. I did the right one first. And then the left").

Not only don't I want to read Stephen Fry's mealtime tweets, I also don't see the point of the restriction to 140 characters. Perhaps it was imposed because Twitter don't own enough storage to hold longer messages. In which case, they should hand over to Google. Google have so much capacity that they could issue every single electron with its own URL, and still have space in reserve to tag the extra electrons generated by pair production while the Universe is running. And the positrons.

In the interests of a balanced opinion, it's only fair to add that a software-developer friend of mine is much more enthusiastic about Twitter than I am. He claims that — if only we could work out how to use it effectively — we would stand at the verge of a new kind of global communication that will multiply our effectiveness a millionfold. I still think Twitter should ditch its 140-character limit though. And so, were he still alive, would Fermat. Hence my cartoon.