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Emma Samms: Why Twitter is the best thing on the Internet

PUBLISHED: 16:03 22 July 2015 | UPDATED: 16:09 22 July 2015

'You may well think that Twitter is just full of people talking about what they had for breakfast, but you couldn't be more wrong'

'You may well think that Twitter is just full of people talking about what they had for breakfast, but you couldn't be more wrong'

Archant

Need a restaurant recommendation or help with a crashed computer? Social media means that there’s always someone awake and willing to help. Emma Samms explains why Twitter is one part of the digital revolution she’s embraced...

Emma SammsEmma Samms

Hollywood Training 101 clearly states that one should never reveal one’s age, but I realise that my aversion to online banking does just that.

For me, the old system worked perfectly well: I received a bill, I sent a cheque. Someone sent me a cheque, I put it in the bank. Simple. I think I would cope better with online banking if I didn’t feel bullied into adopting it. Some companies simply refuse to be sent a cheque, saying they “don’t have the facilities required to process a cheque”. Huh? So, holding my breath, I bravely log on, armed with passwords, pin codes and a strange little contraption that looks like a garage door opener.

My greatest concern is not the security of the operation. I do actually trust my bank when they tell me that their online service has won awards for its reliability and safety. No, my distrust is of myself. I’m convinced that I will, inevitably, transfer the entire contents of my account into the coffers of British Gas or my daughter’s driving instructor.

My teenaged children find my Luddite tendencies both baffling and amusing. If nothing else it’s a sure-fire way to provoke a response from them. I confess that on occasion, I will refer to ‘The Facebook’ and ‘The Netflix’ just to wind them up.

But in truth, there are parts of the digital revolution that I have embraced. More than embraced, in fact. As an avid ‘Googler’ I rejoice at having so many questions so easily answered. I believe that Tim Berners-Lee is a saint. Not only did he invent and then gift us the World Wide Web when he could so easily have monetised it, but he now leads the discussions on the complexity of its safe and ethical use.

The best thing on the Internet for me right now is Twitter. If you’ve never checked it out, you may well think that it’s just full of people talking about what they had for breakfast, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Twitter is whatever you want it to be. I use it in two entirely different ways: Firstly, I get news, entertainment, even an education from the people and accounts that I follow. And secondly, I post ‘tweets’ that afford me a direct line to anyone interested in my career. I try to inform and entertain a little, in return for the opportunity to direct attention to anything I may want to promote.

Twitter is the perfect way for anyone in the public eye to refute a story or any misconception that may be out there. I so wish it had existed in the days when an American tabloid claimed I had three boyfriends on the go (I didn’t) or the time that the front page headline ‘Emma Samms in Pregnancy Drama’ was actually that I’d been my sister’s coach when she delivered her first baby. A labour that went entirely smoothly, by the way.

But Twitter can be helpful in so many ways. It’s like having a group of friends from all around the world in your pocket. Need a restaurant recommendation in any city? Help with a crashed computer in the middle of the night? There’s always someone awake and willing to help. One evening last month I suffered the torment of a seemingly unopenable smoke detector beeping incessantly and preventing any lucid thought, let alone any sleep. I posted a photo of the villainous detector on Twitter and within minutes a kindly follower, someone I had never met in the real world, had tracked down the instructions on the Internet and sent me a link.

And Twitter is uniquely relevant in the search for missing persons, stolen puppies and even the owners of forlorn-looking teddy bears left behind on buses and trains. In less than a day, multiple ‘retweets’ can spread an appeal literally across the world. I liken this to the Twilight Bark in One Hundred and One Dalmations when Pongo and Perdita use the canine gossip line to ask for help from the other dogs in London. These appeals on Twitter are free and very often successful and give anyone who has participated an enormous sense of community and pride.

So, if you’re not familiar with Twitter, here’s what I recommend: follow people you’re interested in. Interact with them, politely respond to what they’ve written and occasionally they’ll respond to you. Only when you feel ready, post a few thoughts, observations or pictures (but not of your breakfast). And find me on there. Tell me what you make of it all. If you grow to love it, as I’m convinced that you will, you can thank me for introducing you to something as new-fangled as social media. Just don’t mention online banking.

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For more from Emma, follow her on her favourite social media platform, Twitter: @EmmaSamms1

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