25/05/2010 5 Comments
It’s funny how social groups form on Twitter. But before I get into all of that, let’s take a step back.
After the big bang, one could reasonably assume that all matter in the universe would be equally spread – that all particles would be spaced out in equilibrium for all eternity. From observation though, we know this is not the case. Matter is not equally spaced out in the universe, something at some point made some of it stick together to form things like the Sun, Jupiter, Mercury and (the cock) George Osborne.
Similarly, users on Twitter do not follow other users in an evenly spread equilibrium. One slight perturbation can send users scattering around, sometimes bouncing, sometimes sticking, forming their own galaxies and within the galaxies, their own solar systems.
One such solar system is Stationery Club.
TheAzzo, TheManWhoFell, Carrozo and the uninhabitable gas giant, Biltawülf are some of the many Stationery Club planets in orbit around the binary stars of Wowser and IamJamesWard.
The icy comet of RedEaredRabbit has long felt the gravitational pull of Stationery Club and yesterday it entered into a stable orbit.
I’ll be honest – I have no great interest in stationery but, despite this, in recent months, I have found myself drawn deeper and deeper into a group of people who are all members of a Twitter based group called Stationery Club. What is the raison d’être for such a society?
Stationery Club is where people go to talk about stationery.
Seriously, I am not making this up.
And so it was, that last night I found myself in Camden, braving 28C temperatures and drug dealers, en route to the third meeting of this prestigious establishment. Despite performing a continual (and seamless) stream of exquisite martial art upon the pill-pushers as I walked, I was in fact, deep in thought.
- How will I recognise them?
- Will we have anything to say to one another when I do?
- What if this is an elaborate ruse to entrap me so they can cut off my willy then cook and eat it like what happens on the internet?
- It really is uncommonly hot today
- My martial arts skills are totally sweet
When I entered the pub, my first worry was immediately eased, as I was hullooed by TheManWhoFell – the one person attending who had ever met me.
As I wrote previously, he is far more than I at ease in Twitter etiquette and proved it by swiftly introducing me to the group, which included ChocoSquirrel, Wowser, Biltawülf, OyeBilly, Mapsadaisical and The Azzo all with whom I tweet regularly.
As time moved on, more and more people showed up and each time someone did I found myself in an odd and increasingly familiar situation : This person could be some random member of Stationery Club I wasn’t aware of, or it could be one of the people I converse with regularly on Twitter that I had turned up specifically to meet – after all, I had no idea what anyone looked like.
Fortunately, TheManWhoFell did a hugely professional job of assisting in introductions. For example, he introduced me to @rhodri:
TheManWhoFell : Rhodri, do you follow RedEaredRabbit?
Rhodri : No, I don’t think so, no.
TheManWhoFell : Well you definitely should do, he’s great.
Me : Just a minute, you don’t follow me yourself, you bastard.
TheManWhoFell : Don’t I? Well, I definitely should. I’ll do it immediately.
(He still isn’t following me)
We moved on – during the next 3 hours we learnt all there was to know about Post-It Notes. As I mentioned, the stationery aspect of the evening was not what had brought me along but in its own way the subject in the hands of James Ward became surprisingly magical.
More to the point, I talked a lot to, and interacted with, the people around me. ChocoSquirrel wrote out “Stationery Club” on Post-It Notes and stuck them to the table. After a few lexicographically immature moves this had been transposed to….
….I enjoyed that.
I won’t spend time on the stationery part – I’m sure this will be covered by my others, but I did get to ask a question to the actual inventor of Post-It Notes. I asked if he was in fact James Ward’s grandfather and how much James was paying him tonight to act the part. Fortunately, James did not ban me from Stationery Club for this minor indiscretion and we had instead a nice chat at the bar about New York and his imminent visit. He was lovely.
So – you know my reason for attending Stationery Club wasn’t the stationery, so what was it? My reason was simply to meet some of the brilliant people I know only through Twitter, to have a beer with them and to see for myself if someone you like in the virtual world is someone you would like in the real world.
Here is the raw data so you can perform your own statistical analysis:
Or in graphical form:
Ultimately though, I will rate the evening according to two simple measures:
Did I have a good time?
A resounding YES. The kind of people I get on with on Twitter really are the kind of people I get on with in every day life.
Would I attend another Stationery Club?
And surprisingly this one is a NO. I have seen all I need to see, experienced all I need to experience and am satisfied at that. I am hanging up my stationery club boots.*
*Just kidding, of course I’ll be at the next one, you muppets. See you then.