Twitter

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.


Twitter.jpg
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 (http://twitter.com/stephenfry) 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. Cosmoline says:

    How do I type onto this twitter thing with my Smith-Corona?

  2. Ann Brien says:

    I totally agree with a previous commentator who states that these suggestions should be called “The Fry Standards”. I, for one, shall be adhering to them!

    What I love about Twitter is the fact that unlike other social networking sites it’s not about requesting friendships then being disappointed when they don’t respond. Here I feel completely free to, at any given moment, speak to the world about what’s happening for me right now. Wonderful! What a sense of release!

    Enjoying the tweets immensely,
    Cheers,
    Ann

  3. Soph says:

    You absolute darling, lovely, you! You most definitely shouldn’t worry your little head about us. For you to allow us to enter the world of His Fryness is a real treat! Having the pleasure of reading your tweets daily is an absolute delight. Each a little treasure I keep close to my heart, gift wrapped with a delicate bow tied gently around it. As a fluffy, Fry Fluffette it’s gracious of you to do this for us and it’s much appreciated. I can only say thank you. Soph_Ichigo x

  4. David Bridger says:

    I think I love you more, each time I read/hear/see you.

  5. JoIsisMarie says:

    Your suggestions are in no way unreasonable, I joined after I watched you on the JR show to find what twitter was all about and I adore it. I follow you on twitter not because you’re famous but because you inspire me, give me hope and make me smile. You have worked so hard for what you have and deserve everything that you could possibly wish for. Do I expect you to follow me in return? No, you are busy and have other things to do. I have only been tweeting for a few days but I all ready use the network much more than myspace or facebook as I find it much more genuine and a lot more interesting which I’m sure the large majority of users would agree with me.

    Peace

    xXx

  6. galatea says:

    Hi Harry, I hope you don’t mind me answering when I wasn’t asked, but Stephen suggested this one (AlrightTit) a couple of weeks ago to everyone and after one curious visit I have now read all the blogs twice and check up on the profile every day since. It might sound like something you wouldn’t be interested in, but give it a try and I’m sure you’ll love it :)

    If not, then I apologise in advance for wasting your time.

  7. galadrial says:

    I can barely imagine how many questions and requests you have been bombarded with since this began, and these guidelines are entirely reasonable. I have been following since day 2, and have watched numbers growing steadily (and recently, exponentially) to epic proportions. While I could feel like an ever tinier speck in an ever burgeoning crowd, it doesn’t seem any less intimate than it was in the beginning, which is a great testament to how you have managed the scale of this. I love receiving your updates and it’s wonderful that you read and reply as much as you do. I already had a great deal of admiration and affection for you before you started twittering – now I marvel at what a warm, kind and generous man you are, and it is lovely to be one of your darlings. x

  8. evan says:

    “…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.”

    Thanks for focusing on that; it’s an important value that a lot of people share.

    Identi.ca is a Free Software and Free Content microblogging site that supports an open standard to allow microblogging exchange across hundreds of sites on the Internet. If you don’t like how Identi.ca is run, you can install the software on your own site and still stay connected to family, friends and colleagues.

    I hope you’ll consider reviving your account on Identi.ca; we could really use your support.

  9. _aquafortis_ says:

    Re. the “signal to noise” issue, I think we should all respect Mr. Fry’s time by practicing “write unto others as you would have them write unto you”. In other words, if your comment is too insipid to read on its own merits, for the love of everything good and holy, DON’T WRITE IT. (Can you imagine how sodding boring it must be to read “OMG I’m your biggest bestest fan ever” for the nth time?) Be original! Come up with something unique, thoughtful, and/or witty that adds to the discussion– you know, ideas Mr. Fry might actually enjoy thinking about.

    As someone once said, “every sentence creates a new stimulus within the soul, for every sentence lives and breathes having an individuality which solidifies and makes more fascinating the whole work to which it belongs.”

    In sum, if you respect Mr. Fry, you’ll do your best to make your sentences here and on Twitter count. Because when you think about it, he really deserves nothing less.

    Cheers,
    EM Jones.

  10. Prof_Plum says:

    How marvellous to read what the Pope of comedy writes here and without an entrance fee too.
    I’m new here, a sort of refugee from the Chris Evans Blog.

    Nice reading Thanks.

  11. an0key says:

    Hi @Stephenfry am so glad that you blog’ed this, I had seen your tweet about refusing to do a BBC interview about twitter. You are, if you like it or not, a great role model to the twitter idea, and couldn’t think of anyone better suited. I personally think twitter is a fantastic idea, a somewhat live soap opera (for want of a better description).

    I also think it’s fantastic that you can find out about the _real_ person, rather than what tabloids say about people… if only more people could be more _real_…

    Very much enjoy your blog, programs, tweets (if sometimes a tad jealous) …

    @an0key (feel free to follow, if you read this and get a chance) =D

  12. lauzjp says:

    You’re doing a super job Stephen, and it is lovely to read what you are up to – normal everyday things as well as what projects you are working on.

    I don’t blame you for turning down requests for pieces about twitter – it’s just lazy journalism – let’s get someone who uses it to write about it…

    hope the dentist went well btw. x @lauzjp

  13. mvandongen says:

    Stephen, I love you, in a weird, Platonic, guy-to-guy, kinda-way. For the everything else, @Soph stole my words.

  14. nonoyesyes says:

    Good afternoon and may I say what a wonderful easy going blog today? Just what was needed to handle a few loose ends and I’m sure, with a personality that is as popular as yourself that it does pay to put a little bit of order into the Tweetering scene… and a little bit of know-how goes a long way.

    Everything you said made absolute sense!

    Kudos, Mr. Fry!

    ((-_-))

  15. natalijah says:

    I feel like a twit for being so addicted to Twitter.

  16. andyc says:

    Micro-blogging is merely an interminable stream of inane drivel but ‘openness and freedom’ is important. That’s why I use an open source system with more functionality (identi.ca) and not a closed system (Twitter).

    One day, when the Twitter platform is performant and stable (currently scheduled for May 2013), Twitter are going to have to monetise it.

  17. monochromeprincess says:

    Thanks for that, I think it does help for clarification and you certainly shouldn’t feel bad about mentioning these things when the scale of this thing is ever increasing and as big as it is! I don’t think anyone expected you to get quite so many followers, I remember after 24 hours you had about a thousand, and I think we’re still amazed with every thousand followers that somehow appear every time we log on to twitter.
    With regards to @replies and DMs; I don’t think (or I shouldn’t think: at least, I hope not) anyone expects a reply, but it is made all the more special when people do, or when your friends do. I appreciate, and I think everyone else does, how much you try to connect with your followers, the personal touches you give your tweets, and how genuine you are: it makes for such a wonderful atmosphere that is then carried on by fellow Fry-followers. I love being one of your followers, and am completely addicted to twitter, and I love being one of your ‘darlings’ ;).
    Thank you for introducing so many of us to Twitter and for ‘keeping it real’ (if you’ll permit me to borrow such a ghastly phrase from youth lingo and give it straight back again) with your own twitterings. You really do give your fans more than anyone else does.

    Thanks and much love
    @dreamingshadow

  18. I got Twitter just so I could follow you – sounding like a crazy obsessed fan!
    When is the next series of Q.I out, I love it!?!
    Thanks for the blogging,
    x x x

  19. klg19 says:

    How pleased am I to see a Twitterer using “sodality” in a sentence?

    Sigh.

    What will you use next? “Hermeneutics”? Please? I wish to see you use “hermeneutics.” Or “heuristics.” Your call. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to use either intelligibly. Surely you can do better than I!

    Oh, and this is a very sensible list. I was inexpressibly excited to get counter-followed by you, back when you were in Madagascar and at only about 20,000 followers. Personally, I wouldn’t in a million years ever expect you to respond to me. Not that much of an egotist.

    All the best to you, sir. I bet we all, like me, are just happy to know you’re out there, chatting to us.

  20. minispace says:

    Mr. Fry Sir,

    Speaking from and frying (harhar) in Hell I can safely say: there’s no twitter here. And thank God for that … oh bugger, I said the ‘G’ word again … ouch !

  21. CaitlinEclaire says:

    Bless you sir :)

  22. redheadjo says:

    I have joined the mad world that is Twitter since hearing you speak about it on the Jonathan Ross show. News of the site had failed to reach my corner of Bedfordshire. Having only been a tweeter for a day, I still have no idea what i am doing but am enjoying it immensely. Your guidelines make utter sense and i will soon be spreading the joy of twitter throughout my little village.

  23. annasofia says:

    I have never commented here, I hope it is all right if I proceed to do so now.
    I’ve been a fan of yours for years now – I knew about twitter before your appearance on Jonathan Ross, but only signed up today. I think it was your blog that first introduced me to the idea of twitter — so thank you! It’s wonderful to know that it’s YOU twittering (tweeting? I am, clearly, new to this), and to feel as though we can “get to know you”; I completely agree with Flammenfisch’s comment about just being greatful that we can read your musings!

  24. Saraah_C says:

    Hey,

    Joint after seeing you talking about Twitter on Bbc :)
    Im not quite used to it yet but ill get there.

    x

  25. Prof_Plum says:

    I must say I did not think someone like yourself would be interested in Darts. I thought it originated from fog smoked rooms of Pubs, large bellies and teeshirt beer swigging males.
    The occasional going for a double Brandy.

    But of course the sport became very popular after the introduction of TV’s Bullseye.
    Oh look at what they could of won. A speedboat to sail on the canals of Birmingham avoiding the odd discarded shopping trolley.

  26. Lauren says:

    I love your status updates (or “Tweets” I suppose). However, by the time I get home from school, you’re usually wishing everyone a good night. (Stupid 8 hours of time difference). Ah well. It’s still cool to know YOU yourself actually posted those words.

    Keep it up Stephen! (And try to fit a trip to Vancouver into your busy schedule one of these days!) =D

  27. retrovm says:

    i’m a dual citizen living in the us (dual between here and the uk!) and following you, i hope you add me back! i love reading your tweets, and i’ve admired your comedy and writing for years. keep it up!

    i’m twitter.com/retrovm

    :)
    have a good one!

  28. Smifflette says:

    I too joined twitter to stalk see how you and Jonathan are doing. Although many blog friends are here too now. Wonderful things, words.

  29. ian says:

    Am sure someone has pointed this out before, but if one is being witty on Twitter does that make them Twitty?

  30. KirstenMavric says:

    And how would I persuade Mr Fry to follow me? Direct messages on Twitter don’t work unless the subject is also following you ;)

  31. Richard Gadsden says:

    I note from twitterholic http://twitterholic.com/ that our beloved Mr. Fry is third in the number of followers chart, behind only CNN and Barack Obama, and ahead of a large group of technorati.

  32. m4sure says:

    Hi there Stephen. Unlike most of your followers on Twitter, I found you quite by accident! I’ve admired your work for many years and I think your twitters are really amusing. I only have
    one follower myself…and I don’t even know who they are. I’m new to all of this. So if by chance you happen to see this post then you are more than welcome to follow me… @m4sure :)

  33. gregni says:

    I would like to formally propose a new metric quantity a ‘fry’. This denotes a twitter user with 100,000 followers. It can be used in a number of different contexts:
    1. “I will fry this week” – as in a person crosses the 100,000 follower mark.
    2. “He might make a quick-fry” – that is 1 fry in less than a month.
    3. “She is a big fry” – 1o frys- 1,000,000 followers
    4. “He is still small fry” – less than 100,000 followers

    Any more?

    @gregni

  34. katiemuffett says:

    I don’t ever twitter personally, but love the fresh news that flows in from the popular folks I follow. I think these rules are absolutely expected with so many followers, and I’m sure most of us simply appreciate receiving the updates. Mr. Fry, you are an example of candidness that lesser celebrities would do well to follow.

    (Does anyone else realise they start trying/failing to talk like Stephen when they are on this site?? lol)

  35. FifthDecade says:

    Amazing. Amazing that Stephen has the time to follow or reply to any of us, and amazing that some people still think he can follow just them. The rules sound like good common sense to me.

    To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw’s definition of Patriotism, perhaps these people think he will follow them for the simple reason that *they* are on his list.

    I really don’t know how he copes, I have trouble keeping up with just 8 people!

  36. FifthDecade says:

    @Ian “Am sure someone has pointed this out before, but if one is being witty on Twitter does that make them Twitty?”

    No, but it might make the person commenting a twit…

  37. synical says:

    Hello Mr Fry…

    Followed you on Twitter as soon as I heard the news from oh-I-don’t-know-where now.

    What I didn’t expect was the email from Twitter telling me that you’re also following me back soon after that. I was chuffed and gobsmacked.

    Thanks again and keep on Tweeting! :)

  38. Firlefanz says:

    I just googled RTFM and found that google is significantly faster than an @stephenfry request, indeed.
    Lo and behold! ;-)

  39. I have to admit I quickly searched Mr Fry when I joined Twitter some days ago. I actually joined so I could stalk a good friend and continue to annoy him. But Stephen was one of the first people I searched and began to stalk.

    Still waiting for my friend to accept my stalk request, so daft allowing people to set their twits to private.

  40. Mccoolhill says:

    I am a Norwegian man and I am proud to call myself a follower of you Mr Fry and I am glad for this Twitter. You are so wonderfull human. You seems so strong but also so vulnerable. And Your acting is not of this world :-)
    Your Norwegian is not bad at all (as demostrated in Kingdom 2). I hope You soon will visit us here and learn some more (“,)

    I hope that You also will share not only Your sunshine with Your followers, but feel free to share the dark clouds also.

    We are here for You Mr Fry!

  41. Vasily Suhov says:

    Please accept my most sincere congratulations! 80k – no joke:)
    It gives me great pleasure to listen to your podcasts

  42. Fweng Ebola says:

    I got a new mobile today, and still can’t get the bloody thing to make or receive tweets. While I accept this isn’t anyone’s fault, I just want to complain.
    This is just typical.

  43. Justjack says:

    I have recently joined twitter and wish to thank you for introducing me to such a brilliant site. I am now following you and Aleksandr Orlov from Comapre the Meerkat.com. Such diversity…Anyhoo I hope you slept well after your ordeal in the lift last night…xx

  44. Prof_Plum says:

    Mr Stepen enjoy your trip to Mexicoooo

  45. Modelmad says:

    I heard you mention Twitter on the box so I had to be nosey.
    I don’t know half of the people they suggest I may want to follow so after the news channels and Jodrel Bank I decided to follow you. :-)

    Well it’s been good up to now ( nice lift ) but I’ve only got 6 followers and they include a stalker LiveEarth and 10 Downing Street. I’ve got a Tweet or two for Mr Brown !!!……….I’m sure he reads them.

    Anyone want to look me up (especially you Mr Fry) I’d be most grateful.

    Phil.

  46. Julesxv says:

    This is really cheeky, but I wonder if you could follow me on Twitter please? I’m certain you don’t want to read my ramblings, but I’d love to send @replies to you and as my updates are protected you’ll never get to see them unless you follow me. Of course, you maybe don’t *want* to see them – but at least that way you’ll have the choice :) My Twitter id is @Julesxv Thank you if you do, and thanks anyway if you don’t!

  47. Rika Nauck says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    Firstly, for a brilliant interview at JR – if anybody can get a word in then it is you! And may I say: You were looking great and in brilliant shape!

    Secondly, for mentioning Twitter. Being reluctant when a friend suggested it I got the ‘kick into the rear’ from your mentioning just in time to use it for my holidays. What a brilliant little gadget that is!

    … and thirdly, just for being around! I love your shows, I love your way with words, the wit and the lightness in your way of phrasing things, the mix of sophistication and naughtyness in one thought… Ah, I’m green and yellow of envy.

    Looking very much forward to your future adventures!
    Tweet, tweet, …
    x

  48. Cindy says:

    Eminently reasonable suggestions – having over 100K following you must be a bit daunting to say the least.

    I discovered you were on Twitter when Londonist covered your adventures being stuck in the lift. (Didn’t get the BBC interview here.)

    Enjoy your US trip.

  49. Parax says:

    Any one looking for power monkey see here:
    http://tinyurl.com/bmf8sx

  50. mischief75 says:

    Dear Stephen,

    Since becoming a fellow tweeter I am now, thanks to you a twittering addict! Encouraging everyone I know to have a go at tweeting, alas most of them don’t quite get it.

    However, on a slightly more random note, (which I hope you don’t find odd) – my other reason for dropping you a line to say ‘hello’ is because many, many moons ago I went to Art College in Norwich and for some extra pennies I used to baby-sit your nephew. With all this twittering going on, it made me wonder how your sis and nephew are doing?! It would be really lovely if you’re able to say hi again from me and just pass on that I hope they’re both well and happy in life :) It would have been about 14 yrs ago now… blimey, now I feel old!

    My Aunt, Jennifer Boag are also friends with your folks, which may help pop things in to context as it was through Jennifer that I met Jo. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind me posting this slightly out of the blue message via your blog. I wanted to send you a direct message via twitter, but I think you have to be following me for me to be able to do that, and with only 140 characters to have written an @reply would certainly have been a challenge!

    Anyway, keep up with the hugely entertaining tweets – here’s to you reaching £100k tweeters and have a wonderful time in La La land! It’s still very brrrrrrrrrr in Blighty so I hope it’s warmer with you….

    Best wishes

    Liz
    Twitter code name: mischief75

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