7 Reasons That Peter Allen Should Be On Twitter
Hello 7 Reasons readers! I hadn’t intended to write about Peter Allen or Twitter today. I had originally intended to write about Hitler and the British plot to add oestrogen to his meals but then, in a fleetingly overheard snatch of BBC Radio 5Live’s Drive programme, I heard Anita Anand exhorting broadcasting legend and curmudgeon’s curmudgeon, Peter Allen to open a Twitter account. Amazing idea, I thought, as all notions of one charismatic pint-sized despot receded from my mind, to be replaced by thoughts of Peter Allen using Twitter. That would be amazing. Here are seven reasons why.
1. The Username Potential Is Great. Anita Anand is presenting Drive all week alongside Peter Allen. Her Twitter-name is @tweeter_anita. Peter Allen could take the name @tweeter_peter. Could anything be sweeter than @tweeter_anita helping @tweeter_peter take his first tentative steps on Twitter? Well, yes, kittens and just about all other things in the known world, but the matching names sound like fun. They’d be the Howard and Hilda of the Twitterverse.
2. We’d Learn More About Him. What do we really know about Peter Allen’s life? Very little. I checked his Wikipedia entry and this is all of the information contained in the Personal Life section:
He follows Tottenham Hotspur, owns a barn and has a trademark grunt.
While every 5Live listener will be aware of the first and third things mentioned, that he owns a barn is a revelation that has piqued my interest and raises many, many questions:
- Why does Peter Allen own a barn?
- What colour is Peter Allen’s barn?
- What does Peter Allen keep in his barn?
- Where is Peter Allen’s barn?
- How long has Peter Allen owned a barn?
- Does Peter Allen allow other people into his barn or is it like a rural Essex-based version of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude where he goes to hone his opinions and polish his hair?
- Did Peter Allen wake up one morning and think, “You know, what I really need to complete my life is a barn”?
- Does Peter Allen actually live in the barn?
- Why can’t I stop thinking about Peter Allen’s barn?
I’ll try to contain my curiosity about Peter Allen’s barn for the moment. Essentially we’d get to know more about the man behind the microphone and the barn behind the man behind the microphone. That would be great.
3. He Would Bring Something Different To Twitter. According to people that spuriously concoct statistics on the internet* rather than researching things properly, the average age of a Twitter user is thirty-one. That isn’t high enough to make Twitter truly representative of society. Peter Allen is more than twice that age. He’d bring a rarely seen perspective of experience and the benefit of time-accrued wisdom to the social network. Twitter is – in my experience – also predominantly a happy and joyful medium. He’d soon sort that too.
4. He Would Be Better Informed. During Drive, he regularly solicits listener feedback via text and email. If he were on Twitter, he’d get feedback 24 hours a day, whether he’d asked for it or not. He’d get feedback about travel, he’d get feedback about news, he’d get feedback about sport, he’d get questions about the barn from me, he’d get tweets from his colleagues poking fun at him (which would stop Aasmah getting out of practice during her week off) and he’d get feedback about things that he didn’t even know he wanted feedback about. Peter Allen would be better informed than he’d ever been in his life. If you need an opinion on anything, it will find you on Twitter.
5. There Would Be Pictures. Radio is a non-visual medium, so the ability to post pictures on Twitter would probably be liberating for Peter Allen and enlightening for the rest of us. We’d get pictures of Essex, we’d get pictures of the studio, we’d get pictures of the most bountiful and luxuriant silver barnet in the known universe and – most importantly – we’d get pictures of the barn. Please.
6. He Would Be Good On Twitter. A lifetime spent in journalism and broadcasting is the ideal preparation for the successful use of Twitter. After all, the distillation of the essence of a news story down to a headline or the dogged pursuit of an insightful quote from a radio interviewee are pretty much the same skills that are involved in condensing a thought, experience or opinion down to 140 characters on Twitter. Peter Allen’s tweets are likely to be provocative, incisive and sharp. Or at the very least he’d be able to say “Go away!” with alacrity and authority when confronted with the ninth question of the day about the barn or the fifteenth about his hair. Probably by tweeting “Go away!”.
7. His Presence Would Provide Encouragement For Curmudgeons. Having such a high-profile, self-confessed Twitter-sceptic jump into the fray would be an interesting experience for the man himself, his listeners and Twitter users. What better way to introduce other sceptics, doubters, technophobes and the plain hostile to the medium than to hear someone with a similar mindset coming to terms with its use? He might even learn to love it or, at the very least, loathe it less; which possibly amounts to the same thing in his world. Peter Allen could blaze a trail for the timid, the wary and the sceptical to become late-adopters of Twitter and would probably entertain his listeners royally into the bargain. I’ve loved listening to him since Radio 5 (as was) started and I can’t help thinking I’d enjoy his presence on Twitter every bit as much. Anita Anand is right. #letsgetpeterallenontwitter as soon as possible. Then we can teach him what that hashtag means.
*Source: 7Reasons.org, 2011.