The original gently rising path that marked the growth of my Twitter followers has recently taken a sharp upward path, due in part no doubt to my (cut short) discussion of Twitter on the Jonathan Ross show on BBC television, broadcast in the UK in the third week of January.

Thank you 80,000 Followers © Samfry Ltd 2009

I cannot tell you how touched and pleased I am to have so many loyally following of my tweets. It won’t need much imagination on your part to understand that with the number reaching 100,000 it is very easy to miss the twitterings that come in. They come in from all parts of the world at a great rate and – even if I were to sit in front of a giant Tweetdeck screen all day long it is unlikely I would see everything, let alone be able to respond to each tweet.

However, I love to see your tweets: I love your wit, your kindness, your observation, your occasional mean streaks of bitchiness, remorseless logic and your long memories that pounce on my all too frequent inconsistencies and rashly made promises. I love how Twitter confirms my all too often assaulted belief that most humans are kind, curious, knowledgeable, tolerant and funny. The absurd constraints of the 140 character tweet seem oddly to bring out the best in wit, insight and observation.

There are just one or two suggestions I would offer to make life easier. By no means are these house rules or commandments, the spirit of Twitter should reflect the spirit of the internet which has always been – to some of us at least, one of openness and freedom.

1. If you are mystified by a reference, it’s best not immediately to post a “WTF?” “Please explain” tweet, but rather to look back along the timeline ( or even to use good old Google or your search engine of choice to chase down the reference. It’s a little tiresome for everyone if I have to keep repeating what project I’m embarked on, where I am and so forth. This is not exactly an RTFM suggestion, but it’s close to it.

2. I am afraid I cannot respond to any professional/speaking/interview/public appearance requests through Twitter. I would ask you to go through the usual channels if there are any enquiries you want to make. You can find out who my agents are from this site. It’s important to me that Twitter is a friendly, sociable entity and the followers and followed should constitute a cheery sodality where business and PR are excluded.

3. While I will certainly let you know of a new audiobook I’ve recorded, or the release of website t-shirts or whatever, I am absolutely not looking to use Twitter as a market stall. I will mention but not push new ‘products’, just as most Twitterers do and just as we all do when we announce any posting to our websites or blog spaces. For me Twittering is not a commercial or PR activity, it’s a fun and fascinating way to interact with all kinds of people who have so much to say. Since the primary function of Twitter is to answer the question “what you are doing?” my tweets will sometimes, obviously, involve news of publications or openings or events. Just be assured I am not using Twitter to advertise!

4. Please don’t be offended if you Tweet or DM me with a direct question and hear nothing back: as you can imagine it is very easy for me to miss the traffic of tweets. Incidentally, while I like to be DM-ed, public tweeting and replies are the default and preferred way to use the service: save DMs for genuinely private or personal messages. Although I will often myself respond to a public tweet with a private DM, you can choose to reply through either channel.

5. I like to follow as much as be followed, but I am afraid the numbers are getting so high that it is almost impossible to follow each of you individually. Have you any idea the RSI risked by pressing that damned follow button a hundred times, let alone fifty thousand?! If you ask me and I catch you asking and I am using a Twitter app that allows me to (or a web browser) then I will probably consent and follow you, but don’t be offended if your request passes me by.

I think that’s it. Be assured, these are not rules. It is absolutely not my place to lay down anything other than vague suggestions as to how “your twitter experience might be enhanced” … To sum up: a) if confused by a reference try and find out first, b) no appearance/interview requests c) don’t be offended by a lack of response. I might be busy and have missed you.

Most of all. Welcome to my twitterworld, I am delighted to have you as a follower. Let’s enjoy ourselves and to hell with those who don’t get it.

Love from @stephenfry

This blog was posted in General

113 comments on “Twitter”

  1. niksargent says:

    Dear Stephen,

    I decided to try and help you with deflecting the pseudo-RTFM challenge. (Please forgive me for twittering you on the topic and appearing dense – mainly due to inability to DM you.. maybe I can get you to follow me ;) )

    Anyway – I’ve created the ultimate Stephen Fry / Google mashup (surely this HAS to be the Universe’s best source of knowledge), called http://WWW.FRYGLE.COM

    It’s a place to post references to the things your followers aren’t familiar with (don’t worry, I’ll do that bit) and also a custom google search that adds extra weight to your site content and twitter timeline in the result. It really works :)

    Hope readers find it useful!
    Yours, fond admirer.

  2. kengrant says:

    So, I just started the twitter thing a couple of weeks ago and was thrilled to have the opportunity to follow your witty tweets. Then, just the other night, my son (soon to be 16) wanted to know why on earth I would twitter – at which point I pulled out my blackberry and said, “So I can know what Stephen Fry is doing.” That ended his argument and he has looked at me with a new-found respect ever since.

    Having said that, I find your suggestions to us twitter users to be very reasonable and I would consider it a high honor if you would follow me, @kengrantde – and if you have 6 minutes to spare, I would truly be honored if you would take a look at a little video our company put together a few months ago – (yes, this is a shameless plug, but please know that it comes from the joy of having been a part of the creation of this and not an effort to sell you a product or service – unless you happen to be in the market for Thin Layer Chromatography plates – sorry, I didn’t think so).

    Thank you for all you continue to do to bring a sense of reason and humor to all of us.

  3. Britsmiles says:

    I am also a fledgling tweeter. First heard about Twitter through (am an English teacher) I find Jonathon Ross and Stephen Fry wonderfully etertaining; great characters who make me smile. To find that they are twitterers (still not sure on right lingo) was a great bonus. The hard part is wanting to reply to their comments and have a conversation (because it’s as if you know them) but fully aware that is impossible!

  4. brouhahahaha says:

    Thanks as ever for the entertaining post! Had joined twitter myself some months back for a lark but never got into. This post inspires me to try again (because I was running out of ways to procrastinate at work, and here’s a brand new one!).



  5. Another newly hatched twitterer/tweeter here. It’s become a pleasure to sign in and read the tweets from The Stephen Fry. Looking forward to keeping up with the ever entertaining posts here and on Twitter. Keep smilin’. :)

  6. dalelane says:


    Thinking about:

    1. If you are mystified by a reference, it’s best not immediately to post a “WTF?” “Please explain” tweet…

    I’ve been working on something to help with this – something that explains your references for you, so you don’t have to try and squeeze the full context in each and every tweet.

    It’s at – any feedback on the idea would be much appreciated!

  7. Tioth says:

    I joined Twitter but I’m afraid still don’t quite get it. However, here seems to be the place one can leave posts which the esteemed Mr.F. may read. I have been a follower for many years, through Fry & Laurie, Blackadder, and of course the wonderful Q.I. I recently caught a bit of a programme ( Room 101 I think) where Stephen was expounding brilliantly and deploring the way the teenagers of today talk – and I was, like, hey he’s so right, and the habit of using a rising inflection to turn every statement into a question? One little word game I like to play is to invent opposites of words which should, but don’t, exist. For example, would you call a really skilful person “ept”, being the opposite of “inept”? If you are feeling really contented are you “gruntled”? If you’re not feeling quite so perky are you merely “chip” instead of “chipper”? Or at the other end of the scale, could you be “chippest”?

    Mr Fry, if you would like to hear more of these, I am afraid you will have to follow me on Twitter! (and does that denote a person who is more of a twit than another?) And to impress me even further with your erudity and encyclopaedic knowledge, have you worked out my username?

  8. Tioth says:

    Hmm where did my very first comment just posted go? perhaps it’s being moderated? Let’s see what happens to this one …

  9. authenticdasein says:

    Dear Mr Fry,
    I finally got back into twitter no small thanks to you and i’ve been spreading the word (and still do); alas I am a casualty of that hideous technical glitch last week and am blocked. At least I think that’s why, I am pretty sure I didn’t offend you in any way and I’ve seen that you dealt with lots of others. So wouldyou please please please unblock me? I’m,
    and I miss the funny things you send, and getting you via RSS feed is just not the same.
    thank you,
    from one authentic dasein to another…

  10. Loreleila says:

    Is it compulsory to go to hell if you don’t get it? Or is that also a vague suggestion? I do hope so as I’m not sure how to find it, or perhaps I’m there already and have failed to notice.

  11. Mr_Pym says:

    Well that’s all hunky-dory and wonderfully fine – but why have you blocked me from following you twittering? What did I do? Where did I go wrong? Ohh, I just glanced up at some of the comments above – technical glitch you say – does that mean we can sort this out? I really hope so, your twittering is just about the best twittering there is to be had. Honest.

    Thank you.

  12. space_is_deep says:

    Just put your lips together and blow, apparently the light is at the end of the tunnel, damn its a bloody long tunnel. What more can one say?

  13. stoney says:

    I have long held the belief that civilisation did not arise through trade but through tourism and/or scientific enquiry. Is stephen a scientist a trader,of comedy and acting, or a tourist.
    I think he’s a tourist

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