Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Uncle Dick’s Guide to Becoming A Good Twitterer And Making Your Life Complete

People have started to come up to me on the street and ask me about Twitter. Just like that. As bold as the brass stuff and without any consideration for Judy, who as you know, is allergic to strangers, dogs, and the colour yellow.

To solve the problem, I thought I’d write down an introduction to Twitter which I can print out and thrust into the faces of anybody who approaches me with a Tweet glinting in their eye. I call it ‘Uncle Dick’s Guide to Becoming A Good Twitterer And Making Your Life Complete’. It doesn’t promise you the earth, but it does promise to make you a better person.

1. Create your account at

2. Immediately follow @stephenfry. I can’t stress this enough. If you Twitter, you must follow @stephenfry. You will immediately discover that he’s off in some remote part of the world, examining the underside of some rare form of parrot. This will make you unhappy with your life at the office/bakery/school/home. Congratulations! You’ve achieved your first feeling of self-loathing. You’re a real Twitterer!

3. Immediately follow @wossy. Although not quite as important as rule number 2, it is still required by UK law that you follow @wossy. Not only will you be entertained with stories of his celebrity friends dropping by (that Ricky Gervais... What a card!), you’ll learn more about Japanese manga and the lifestyles of adults who collect toys. This is better than spending a mornings hanging around Toys R Us. And since hanging around Toys R Us is not recommended, @wossy fills a void in all our lives.

4. You should next try to follow as many celebrities as possible starting with your favourite Uncle Dick. Following celebrities is the reason that Twitter exists. It’s the reason you live. The reason you have children is so that they can follow celebrities. Celebrities bring meaning to your lives and you should not ignore them. It is astonishing how even minor celebrities can bring so much peace and happiness. There’s no feeling as great as learning that Phillip Schofield spent the morning waiting to have new carpets fitted in his billiards room or that Richard Bacon collects used postage. Want to know that Maggie Philbin’s toaster’s gone on the fritz? Then Twitter is the place for you.

5. If you want to be a success on Twitter, you might have to adopt some radical – if not downright unhealthy – practices. You might have to follow ‘normal’ people.


7. I left a space to let you regain your composure. I know it was a shock and it’s not something you want to think about when you’ve just eaten. But you should quickly follow as many ‘normal’ people as you can. Bite your lip and go click crazy. Get it over with because being ‘followed’ is the measure of your success on Twitter. Celebrities will not follow you (and, let’s face it, why should they?). You have to make up for this by following people you might normally cross the street to avoid.

8. You will quickly realise that it’s bloody hard to get followed unless you’re a celebrity name. You will have the urge to quit but you must fight this urge. If you persevere, you will get followers. You might even be up to 20 within a few months.

9. Listen to your Uncle Dick: follow everybody who is good enough to follow you. But if they stop following you, then you should cull them without mercy. Unfollow them with extreme prejudice. Unfollow them with a vengeance.

10. When writing ‘tweets’ (Twitter messages are called ‘tweets’ after Stephen Fry’s pet canary), you should avoid posting anything of interest. You will quickly establish a pattern of posting the same thing, day after day. Some of the most popular forms of Tweet are listed below.

11. Take a picture of your lunch and post a picture of that. People don’t know what food looks like. They’ve rarely come into contact with a meal.

12. Another popular tweet is to complain about how many tax forms you’ve had to fill out and how many more tax forms your looking forward to zzzzzzzzzzz...

13. Sorry. Where was I? Oh, yes. Popular tweets.

14. Tweet news which people will have already learned about from other sources. If possible, alter the facts very slightly. E.g. Original: Britney Spears today gave birth to a baby boy called Sam. Your version: Britney Spears today gave birth to a two headed dragon she has named Raglock the Destroyer.

15. Tweet about other tweeters. My advice is hurl as much abuse around as you can. It livens things up, keeps things fresh.

16. One of the most popular form of tweeting is that of the celebrity verifiers. These people form loose associations known as ‘rabbles’ and ‘mobs’, who scour the Twitterverse for people pretending to be celebrities. When they find them, they hack at them with their pitchforks and then burn down their houses. They then salt the land so nothing will grow there for a thousand years... Their actions save all of us the indignity of following a fake Russell Grant when we should be following the real thing. You should therefore join a mob immediately after complying with rule number 3. Remember, in the Twitterverse, you’re nobody if you’re not in a mob.

17. The final rule of Twitter is to leap off when the next great social networking innovation comes along. To be honest, you’ll probably find that 140 characters take a little too much effort. In the coming months, Judy and I hope to launch our own Gruntverse, where you’ll be able to follow the grunts, sighs, and assorted gasps of celebrities. Want to hear Hugh Grant go ‘arrrrrrr’ three times a day? Well, watch this space. Gruntverse will be here soon.

18. Trust your Uncle Dick. It’s the next big thing.


Don said...

Oh my, this is great! You should write a "Twitter for Dummies" book, despite the redundancy of the title!

Welsh Girl said...

Oh Dear. Judy is in trouble. I am reliably informed that Yellow is this year's black....

Anonymous said...

What excellent advice and rather refreshing compared with all those crappy internet marketing experts. #6 was my favourite! Uncle Dick for Twitter King!!!!


LOL - thank you, thank you, this is the best guide to twittering I've discovered since I've starting tweeting. I now feel the urge to tweet it :-D

Andrew said...

Shit, I was all convinced that I'd written something hilarious about Twitter and then you go and put this up. Damn you, Madeley, damn you to hell!

Mad Margaret said...

Oh dear God. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been so lost with all this twittering, it was ruining my life, but your guide has saved me. No 6 was the best advice I have EVER received. I have now gained my confidence and my teeth, my grey hairs and wrinkles have gone and I am my perfect weight again. I can NEVER repay you.

Thank you, my newest bestest dearest friend, Uncle Dick.

Miladysa said...

Dear Uncle Dick

Many thanks for pointing me in the direction of The Real Russell Grant :D

I trust your reason for missing my name of the celebrity shout out was due to your fear that the Daleks would seek me out should they learn of my location? I can think of no other reason...


Simon said...

Dear Mr Madeley,

I regret to inform your application for the Trademark on Gruntverse has been declined.

Extensive research has shown that the concept is already in use on the on-line help-lines in use my at least three of the UK major ISP.

While our experience of using these help facilities does confirm there is a ready pool of grunters who would obviously ideal for this service, I'm sorry to say that at least one ISP has threatened an injunction should you attempt to set up such a service under another name.

We would also appreciate it if when you next see Mr Stephen Fry that you ask him to remove the donkey he seems to be grazing on the potted plants in our reception. The waste products of this process is staining our marble halls and creating a Health and Safety issue.

Also, please find enclosed the bottle of Bill Oddie's fabled buttercup wine. Unable to determine if this was intended as a bribe or a threat we decided to place it in a fire bucket and return poste-haste.

Ever your most obedient servant,

Arthur D. Miltogote

PS. Do you think wossy would be interested in a viewing of my life sized model of Kate Winslett made of lego?

Anonymous said...

I gave birth to Britney Spears, this morning. Yes I did.

Rose said...

Twitter? No, no!
I do enough stalking already lol
I am going to stick to Facebook and Blogger..

gzn said...

Thanks Uncle Dick as a newbie I now feel fully equipped to tweet and tweet and tweet until I am sick

JTAN said...

Very witty, and very astute.

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