Posted Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 10:57
I will post my article in Iain Dale’s book shortly, with his permission. In the article, in which I very clearly define the reasons why MPs should not blog or Twitter (yes, I know ) I mention someone who has posted 22,000 tweets in four months.
Today, someone has emailed my office with the details of a political/personal Tweeter who has posted 35,000 tweets in a similar amount of time.
I’m going to have to set up a Twitter account again so that I can check this out for myself!… Not.
Is there such a thing as Twitter addiction? How can anyone live a normal life who can do that? Surely these people cannot be in employment because if they are, how can they work? if they aren’t then it’s time they got a job which involves being sat at a key board because there’s nothing much up with their fingers, brain or attention span!!
I wonder if very soon someone is going to identify a Twitter syndrome and we get to read about people who have become compulsive Tweeters. Will we hear stories of people who Tweet, oh I don’t know, say 50 times a day and need to go into re-hab?
I will put money on that being a Daily Mail story one day. In the meantime, do you know of anyone else who has Tweeted more than 35,000 times in less than six months? If so, email my office and let me know. Or, better still, if it’s someone you know is on benefits, contact the DWP.”
Dear Ms Dorries,
I am writing to you as a disabled citizen of this country. And a twitter user.
I have today read your blog, where you state that people who are on benefits and use twitter should be reported to the DWP.
I find your opinions on this matter worrying and shockingly ignorant.
For many disabled people, the internet has opened up a portal into a world of social contact. Many of us are socially extremely isolated. We may be limited in our ability to engage in the world by physical disabilities, or by mental illness. For us, twitter, and other social media, might provide our only human contact.
As you might guess from my email address, I have mental health difficulties. I have depression, social phobia and generalised anxiety disorder, among other diagnoses. The only human beings I see in the real world are a support worker (once a week), occupational therapist (monthly), and psychiatrist (monthly). Plus my mother, who I see once a week. Because of my mental health condition, I am unable to leave the house alone, without extreme anxiety or panic attacks. I lost my job in management 3 years ago. My marriage broke up 2 years ago. I have no friends. I am alone for about 95% of the week.
Since starting to use twitter a few months ago, I have come into contact with other disabled people, who are also socially isolated. And others who are less socially isolated, but for whom twitter has provided a way of meeting people with similar interests or outlook. These people have opened up the world for me. They have made my life less restricted and sterile. I have conversations with them, in much the same way a less restricted person might when meeting a friend at a cafe or pub. This is what twitter is for me – a method of making friends.
Would you have me close my twitter account, and go back to staring mindlessly at the television all day, or return to my bed? Or would you like to report me to the DWP yourself, for trying to have some sort of social contact with other human beings?
I look forward to your reply.