Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Getting Daily Tweets From Samuel Pepys

In a final attempt to understand the attractions of Twitter, I abandon all my usual tweeters (alas Dave, I will no longer know when you are having your tea) and choose a selection of A-List celebrities. Chief amongst them are Albert Einstein and Samuel Pepys - and before anyone posts in to tell me that both of these are dead, I already know; but in a virtual age when a fat man and his dog can walk the Oregon coast road without leaving West Yorkshire getting Samuel Pepys to tweet is small beer. Einstein is a bit of a prig as a tweeter, eternally coming out with motivational sound-bites : today's was "Three Rules of Work : Out of clutter find simplicity. From discord find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity" (Tell that last one to Gordon B, Albert, I am sure he will appreciate it). Sammy Pepys is a much livelier fish : I have just received the following from him : "I met Sir John Robinson, still a vain prating, boasting man as any I know..." If you go to the Samuel Pepys Diary website you can sign up as a Twitter follower, but there you can also find extracts from his diary for the day in question. This is much more my cup of tea : this is Samuel Pepys' Blog rather than his twitter account. In today's entry he is moaning about a letter of complaint he has received from Sir William Warren. The thing I admire about Pepys is that he is never happier than when he is moaning about someone or other. Warren is complaining about the two year delay in the payment of his accounts, so what does Pepys do? Does he compose a lengthy rebuttal to the charges? Does he pen a groveling letter of apology?  No, he simply writes in the margin of the letter "Returned as untrue" and sends it back again!

Oh I love this approach and I salute Samuel Pepys for having discovered the way to deal with unsolicited junk mail years ahead of his time. I have already re-posted a glossy advertising flyer from a double-glazing company with "returned as untrue" appended in black felt-tip pen. The next time the Inland Revenue write claiming that I still owe then £2.37p they will get the same treatment. And somewhere I have letters from all the main candidates in Thursday's election, most of whom will be getting their letters back with suitable annotations. 

And now that I have got that off my chest I am going for a fine beefsteak supper at the Fleece Tavern, and then to bed.

Go to the Samuel Pepys Diary Website for Daily Diary Extracts

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  1. Love the Pepys approach to correspondence. I do something similar with unsolicited credit card stuff. They usually put in a 1st class envelope paid by their arrangement with the PO. I tear up the rubbish they send, put it back in the envelope so that they have to pay first class to get their unwanted rubbish back again. Doesn't fix anything, but I get some gratification.
    Sounds as though you are as enamoured with Twitter as I am; I just don't get it. Tried it but got fed up with the drivel.

  2. Twitter is an odd bird, isn't it. Tho I'm convinced it has its uses, I've yet to figure out how I really fit in the tweeting picture. Pepys on twitter (or a blog) sounds delightful.

  3. Haven't been bit by the twitter bug yet...

    Love the 'returned as untrue' idea...LOL!

  4. Not even the wit and wisdom of Samuel Pepys could lure me onto Twitter. An idea struck me, though - Douglas Adams quotes would be ideal tweet fodder. Douglas was a total computer and Internet fan, and I think he would have seen Twitter as an amusing toy to have lots of fun with.

  5. I am a reluctant twitterer. I forget to tweet for weeks.

    The Fleece Tavern sounds like a warm and woolly place. I think I'd like it.

  6. I am one of those who is not twitterpated ... yet, anyway ... despite encouragement from my adult children.

    I have Samuel Pepys' diary and I never tire of reading it. Besides his moaning on about what ails him, I also enjoy the way he wrote about what he had for dinner most days. (He really was ahead of his time!) I love, love, love the idea of returning junk mail with "Not True!" written on it. Simple and satisfying.

    Really enjoyable post, Alan.

  7. I've been using the pre-paid envelope method, sent by credit card companies, for years. John's right, the problem isn't solved, but somehow it makes you feel better.

    Will check out Pepys.

  8. The old ways were the best. I love the idea of Pepys Twittering. Didn't he write his diaries in code?

  9. GAH Blogger's eating comments 'gain. I think I'll employ the Pepys return policy next time I receive a windo-faced envelope!

  10. hope you enjoy that dinner...returned as true...ha.

  11. Samuel is not a dumb twit. He can prolong paying a bill forever. That is not untrue. I like it. Made me smile.

  12. I am also somewhat lukewarm about Twitter. I haven't posted regularly for about a month and not sure which direction to go. One day a new revelation may come.

  13. Anonymous12:19 AM

    I am always an admirer of those who keep journals and write things down. If they didn't, we would not know much about our history.

    As far as first class rubbish goes, that John talked about, I don't even bother. It goes straight to the trash.

    I am not nuts about twitter and am growing stupid trying to find something worthwhile about Facebook.

  14. One of our national newspapers, The National Post, has a daily Pepys diary entry. It's always fun to read. He was a card, wasn't he?



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