A world without Twitter? I’m in heaven!

July 19, 2011 | By Gerard McGovern | Sport
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Despite being a youthful 31 years old, I’m not on Twitter. I understand that millions of people across the world like to share what they had for breakfast and what colour their socks are (pork buns and multi-coloured) but I’ve never seen the appeal.

However, I appear to have found my sanctuary. For in China, where we covering the FINA World Championships, Twitter is banned.

Thank you China!

Of course, I am being facetious; Twitter is more than banal ramblings, and censorship of billion people is not, in my eyes, good for anyone. Along with Twitter, other sites blocked include Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook and Amnesty International.

Now this is where we are starting to run in to a few issues. Many world class athletes are on Twitter and often their main interaction with the press is via the micro-blogging site. Here at the World Championships its use has dropped dramatically because the restrictions.

The term “blocked” is a slight misnomer however. On my UK BlackBerry I can access the Internet as if I were in London, so have completely free access. You can also employ technology to route your laptop out via London or New York to get that same free access but these options are not available to everyone.

The block also makes it harder for us to get our photos out of China and to our distribution systems in Seattle. Fear not, we’re working on that too!

Ultimately, we live in a world where freedom of information and expression is mostly taken as a given and it seems so strange and backward that nearly 1/6th of the world’s population are somehow isolated from the rest of us. I hope in time the great firewall of China ceases to exist.

And as I write this, Keri-Anne Payne has won a gold medal for Great Britain. Let me update my Facebook … page cannot be found?

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  • http://www.zanzig.com Mark Zanzig

    Gerard, thanks for a funny and thoughtful post. I completely agree with everything you wrote, but I wanted to just point out that your lack of understanding of Twitters appeal indicates that you are already – too old! I also never really understood why people would want to share (up to) 140 characters about their life with total strangers. Where, exactly, is the point? Geeez, I’m probably way too old. This hurts. *big sigh* ;-)

  • Gerard McGovern

    Old at 31; I will hand my iPod in on the way out.