I could have been with the three-dimensional people at the SECC – but instead I made myself comfortable in front of the TV and lived Election Night through Twitter.
Before you scoff at the geek on the couch, let me paint the scene. Using Twitter client Hootsuite I set up four columns on my screen: my friend feed – what all the people I follow were tweeting, my @replies – any messages they sent to me, my own tweets – so I wasn’t tempted to tweet too often and piss off my followers and a search column following the hashtag #GE2010. (I may have failed on the ‘tweeting too often’ safety mechanism, but so far follower numbers seem stable!)
It was completely fascinating.
From wisecracks about BBC graphics, random celebrity commentators and Eric Pickles’ lack of neck to breaking news about voters being turned away in Sheffield – the search column kept me both amused and informed all night.
My friend feed was even better, like being in a virtual pub. We joked around, waited for each other’s constituency results, answered questions when we’d missed something and encouraged each other to stay awake, pour another glass of wine, have another biscuit.
At 3am when I was concerned I’d missed the East Dunbartonshire result (my friend is Jo Swinson’s PA and I was worried for her job) the Twitter search tool took me straight to @joswinson who told the Twitterverse personally it would be another 20 mins. I knew when to expect my own constituency result thanks to a link posted by a friend to Press Association’s Declaration Times site. I watched a video of voters being dispersed by police on YouYube (a link from the #GE2010 search column) long before BBC or Sky had any content… I don’t think I’ve ever been better informed in my life – and all from the comfort of my couch.