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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: September 9, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Is Twitter the new blogging?

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Is Twitter the new blogging? As I write, I suspect I am already behind the curve and that geeks and nerds are laughing their hollow little hearts out all over cyberspace.

    Maybe it is the 140-character limit on Twitter that makes it so appealing. A blog-post is like a piece of string, you can go on forever.

    Politicians like Twitter because they can publicise their latest activities without having to give any great rationale for what they are doing.

    They are also very busy people, although it often strikes me that a good deal of what they do is quite irrelevant, even to the great cause of re-election.

    Some time ago I started a Twitter account (@ddebreadun) and, as the then-Queen said when bouncing up and down on her royal husband’s back in The King’s Speech, it is “rather fun”.

    It gives me a chance to vent my spleen over the sloppy use of language: “refute” where it should be ”reject”; “referenda” where it should be   “referendums”; etc.

    Twitter gives me a chance to get in touch with my inner curmudgeon!

    • paul says:

      when does one refute and when does one reject?

    • To refute is to disprove, to reject in this context is simply to deny. Many politicians and journalists mix up the two. When they say, “The Taoiseach refuted a claim by the Opposition”, they usually mean that he rejected it, not that he disproved or discredited the claim, point by point.

    • Donal O'Keeffe says:

      Is “referenda” not the plural of referendum, then? It’s been a long time since I failed Latin…

    • Donal O'Keeffe says:

      Is “referenda” not the plural of referendum, then? It’s been a while since I failed Latin…

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      @ 2 if that’s all you have to get annoyed about it’s further proof, if any was needed,about how out of touch with reality those who spend too much time in and around Leinster House become.

    • Quite right, Deaglán, twitter is perfect for channeling the curmudgeon inside of all of us. A tweet is short and sharp, ideal for a “grumpy” retort.

    • @5: 1) There’s plenty of other things that annoy me but I am not going to put them in a single post! Your comment therefore has no foundation.
      2) It has always been my impression, Desmond, that you would quite like to be a TD but your trademark gratuitous abrasiveness, as repeatedly seen in your comments, would make you quite difficult to elect :-)

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      @7: I probably will be elected eventually but it’s unlikely to be in Ireland as Ireland offers nothing anymore for people my age. The way things are going it’s going to be a country of old people and the unemployed and a middle class with the life strangled out of them. Pity really.

      You’re quite right though to infer I’d never get through to the ballot paper – getting elected is the easy bit. I know enough about how Irish politics works (I suspect the other parties are no better than Fine Gael) and know that to get selected as a candidate you’ve already had to have sold your soul and trashed any principles you ever held.

      You only think I’m abrasive because I’m not in awe of you and there’s nothing the establishment hate more than transparency and accountability, than someone not showing them the respect they feel is their due.

      We’ve had this discussion before. I personally don’t think there is one single member of the Oireachtas, if there were even one, from any party or none, with the integrity to publish receipts for the expenses they claim and how they funded their campaign that would be a start but there isn’t. Not even one and that type of attitude is why I probably won’t ever be on the approved list of candidates from ehad office.

      It’s not abrasiveness it’s reality and when the political media fail to ask such questions then I guess the rest of us should because I don’t imagine the likes of you ever would. Not to the pals you see in the plush soft carpeted corridors of Leinster House.

    • @ Looking forward to your eventual transmogrification into a Tory/Lib Dem/Labour MP! .

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      Should the day arrive you’ll be the first to know and I hope you won’t be shy about holding me to task for things I’ve said. I’d be disappointed with anything less!

    • Maoilseachlainn says:

      1. What “curve” are you behind? 2. Can you distinguish between “geeks” and “nerds”?

      As to the latter, I live in the United States and even people here can’t explain the difference to me. Nor, for that matter, can any Hispanic people explain why they abbreviate “los Estados Unidos” as “EEUU”. There is a lot of ignorance about.

    • Philippa Hogan says:

      Curmudgeons of the world unite!! The late great Hugh Leonard is doubtless chuckling with delight and approval.

    • Art Kavanagh says:

      There’s nothing wrong with “referenda”. I suspect that people who maintain otherwise have hidden agendums.

    • Ger says:

      @Maoilseachlainn Off topic, but if you haven’t found out any other way, the reason Estados Unidos is abbreviated EE.UU is that acronyms which signify something plural (United States in this case) are doubled. Personally I think it’s a very odd rule (many Spaniards I’ve asked about it also agree), but it is a rule.

      So EU is U.E., UK is just R.U., but US is EE.UU, and Autonomous Communities (of Spain) is CC.AA.

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