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OFF THE CUFF.

Byline: ADAM JUPP

THIS week, during a rare day off, I decided to catch up with the rest of the world.

It was one of those New Year's resolution moments but in, er, early October, when something came over me and I had to take action. It had been sparked by a night out the previous Saturday when I found myself perplexed by a conversation between my pals.

I put it to the back of my mind at the time and headed off to the bar to occupy myself. But, as I sat on the sofa on my day off, in dressing gown and football shorts, the memories came flooding back and that was the spur I needed.

So, without further ado, I set about creating my first ever Twitter account.

This is an internet site on which you set up your own account and type out so-called micro-blogs for the world to see. My understanding is blogs are a shortened term for web-logs, which essentially are online diaries.

These statements can be as mundane as what you've just eaten or can be something interesting you've spotted that you want to share with the rest of the world.

Other people can then choose to keep tabs on what you're saying each day by "following" you and you in turn can follow other people.

Confused? Me too, a little. But my pals seemed to rave about how it kept them in touch with what long-lost loved ones were doing on the other side of the world and even gave them the chance to spy on the odd celebrity Twitterer.

I found the website and told the thing I wanted to get started, which left me with a blank page and a box that simply said "What are you doing?" I glanced down at the four-hour old toast plate and the box of my Italia '90 World Cup highlights video tape, currently rolling in the dusty VHS player, and felt a little ashamed.

I was determined my first message to the world would be a good one but my life at that moment in time (and quite possibly generally) was just too pathetic.

But I gave myself a virtual slap around the face and reminded myself this was the whole point - everyone is the same, they all do ordinary things in their spare time and I should share my experiences with the planet.

So I decided to be brave, closed my eyes and, Derren Brown-style, typed out exactly what was on my mind at the time.

And that was: "Ironing target for this afternoon: eight work shirts."

Within an hour, a response came back from one of my new followers (yes, I have followers). It said: "There's sharing, there's oversharing and now there's ironing updates. Twitter just reached a new low."

I was crushed and felt like a scared turtle, who had retreated into his shell at record speed. I spent the rest of the afternoon, still in dressing gown and football shorts, forcing myself to try and think of something intellectual to put as my next "Tweet".

To say I struggled is an understatement but late last night I came up with at least something to put out there.

It read: "Struggling for Off The Cuff material, inspiration needed."

It seems every cloud does have a silver lining.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 15, 2009
Words:557
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