Twitter is five and changed my life in the process

That today is Twitter’s fifth birthday is an indication of exactly how fast time can seem to move in the world of social networking. About three and a half years ago, promoted by Ben Ayers, I signed up to Twitter. I don’t think either of us quite knew how influential Twitter would become (even if we never stopped banging on about its importance at work).

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration (albeit one with no intentional hyperbole behind it) to say that Twitter has changed my life.

Age doth become me, and age doth become the internet

Last year, this post almost certainly wouldn’t have got written. I’d have probably been busy running around, bottle of beer in hand peering at people’s nametags and having mutually agreeable conversations that what we were doing was the future. Today, this post nearly didn’t get written because I got distracted by The Big Lebowski on TV.

Somewhere along the line, I’ve morphed from Riggs into Murtaugh.

Peru: Flown to safety

Earlier today I got the phone call I’d been hoping for. Even though it was fairly likely S would be on one of the first airlifts out of Machu Picchu today, it wasn’t until she called and I heard it from her voice that I could start to relax. It has, it’s fair to say, been one of the more worrying weeks I’ve had.

Yesterday was one of those days of hope but not knowing. S started off the day being told to head for a briefing with her tour company and being told that they would get flown out. Probably. Possibly.

Peru: Progress

It’s a good job this blog post wasn’t written an hour earlier. About six hours ago, I got a text from S saying the power had gone down in her area and there had been no sign of helicopters. There had been no news and nobody had told S or her group anything. With water and food supplies starting to run down even further, the situation was looking grim.

Peru: the floods and mudslides gets serious. The rescue effort less so.

Yesterday I was concerned for my girlfriend, trapped in Machu Picchu after heavy rains and mudslides, but optimistic from what she was saying, and news reports, that she would soon be out. Today, I’m a lot more worried and have no idea when she’ll escape from the village, cut off from the rest of the country.

I spoke to S again earlier this evening, and things are both better and worse. Mainly worse.

Yesterday they were told the evacuation, using planes and helicopters, would start today. They have seen and heard nothing about this. A US plane, intended for American citizens arrive, but was commandeered by the locals. The Americans, like S, remain [1].

It’s raining in Peru

Flooding in Peru

There are certain moments when your stomach lurches. One of them is when your girlfriend, a seasoned traveller, sends a text saying she’s had to be evacuated from her hotel and she’s scared. This from somebody who has been halfway around the globe and takes most things in her stride.

I rarely put any kind of personal stuff on this blog because, well, I just choose not to. But, equally, I’ve decided to blog about the flooding and mudslides in the Cusco area of Peru (home to Machu Picchu) in case, like me, you’re one of the friends, family, or relatives of the 2000 or so tourists stranded in the area and are just looking for information and happen to stumble across this. Not knowing is one of the worst feelings ever

Oh my science (2)

There’s reporting that you disagree with and then there’s an occasional point of journalism that’s just wrong. Not just wrong, but dangerously misleading to a degree that goes beyond scary.

Case in point – the Sunday Express’ front page from yesterday: “JAB AS DEADLY AS THE CANCER

Now, with the death of Natalie Morton, hours after she’d received the cervical cancer vaccine jab [1] was always going to lead to some interesting reporting. Some has been good, some has been bad and some has been scaremongering. Especially after the point where it was established that she died from a tumour and not the jab.

Moving somewhere

“Yah?”

“Yah. And Clementine knows somebody who can get us on the Mahiki guest list.”

“Yah?”

“Yah.”

Welcome to the neighbourhood.

I have moved. Or, rather, a couple of months ago I moved. This was the first conversation I heard in my new area, spoken by a couple of 17-year-olds on a bus. It is, I think it is safe to say, sufficiently more upmarket than the delights of Tooting, where I was previously residing.

And another bit on why Twitter is so essential to my life

In the old days, a train delay on the morning commute would leave me sitting in the carriage like a lemon wondering whether or not to chance it on the buses. Today, when the train was halted at Clapham Junction due to a ‘major security alert’ my first thought was to get my BlackBerry out and leap on Twitter.

It’s perhaps understandable to be a little concerned and jumpy when you get announcements like that. Then you also start mentally working out how the hell you’re going to make it into work and which other routes were crowded.

On being dirty, southern and a twit

The best kind of nights, I’ve always found, are the ones where you end up in a completely unexpected place. Last night, for me, that unexpected place was a fascinating in-depth discussion of Belgian politics and media, and contrasting it with the UK.

This isn’t normally what I spend my nights down the pub doing, but then it’s also a neat illustration of why I enjoy going to the assorted social media meetups. Or in this case, Tweetup.