When Charlie Sheen launched himself on Twitter recently, we were immediately reminded what makes the social networking site so good. At the same time, we were reminded what makes it so bad. So good is the instant and direct access to celebrities. So bad is the instant and direct access to celebrities!
If you’re not into Twitter, then you’re probably a Facebooker instead. Not many people seem to be in both Team Facebook and Team Twitter. If you’ve listened to me on radio, you’ll know I’m firmly in the Twitter camp.
Everyone’s experience is unique, and what you get out of social networking depends on who you follow (Twitter) or befriend (Facebook), but I have to agree with this explanation (source unknown): “Twitter makes you love people you’ve never met. Facebook makes you hate the ones you know.”
I can’t think of a 12-month period where I’ve met as many new friends as I did in 2010, all thanks to Twitter. I’m looking at you @PeterJBlack, @VoodooDollSinna, @SimonBand, @Annieb25, @Taezar, @HeathC and @KatieClift!
But the Twitter friend I most want to tell you about is an unassuming 30-something bloke called Evan Davis or @EvanontheGC.
Evan’s hobby is taking his Twitter followers travelling with him. Evan doesn’t have a partner – he’d love to find the right lady – but has hundreds of companions wherever he goes. What’s unusual about Evan’s travels is that, thanks to “a few good investments”, he’s already been to most countries we’d all love to visit so now he concentrates on what he calls “event holidays”.
Last year, he went to the Canberra tally room on election night, returning to the national capital for the first day of parliament. (The poor bloke didn’t pack his good shoes and ended up wearing a pair lent to him by the Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett!)
There was the Eurovision Song Contest where Evan met and was photographed with the winner. New Year’s Eve was spent watching the crystal ball dropping at Times Square. And, naturally, his next trip is to London for the royal wedding.
Evan also has a curiosity for local events, taking his followers to the first game of the relaunched Brisbane Bandits baseball team and on an official bus tour of the Ipswich Motorway roadworks! Evan’s now part of my ABC radio show, known as “the man in the front row of history”. I can’t wait to hear his reports from William and Kate’s nuptials.
Recently, Evan and I sat down over lunch to talk about the pitfalls of travelling alone. It’s well known that hotels cost more if you’re on your own but worse, apparently, are the constant approaches from prostitutes. Evan says one night he had to fend off nine and was forced to retreat to his room! By contrast, Twitter has made travelling alone much more enjoyable. Evan’s followers back home are always with him, commenting on photos and suggesting things for him to do.
So next time you hear about Charlie Sheen, or some other reckless celebrity, giving Twitter a bad name, think about the good people for whom Twitter is truly life-improving. People like Evan Davis.