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With the death of the amazing @no_left_feet and the demise of #artwiculate I’ve spent the last 24 hours alternating between crying my eyes out and being so angry I could spit chips

Twitter has been an illuminating experience for me. I would never have thought it possible that within the 140 character construct, you could develop friendships that are every bit as strong and meaningful as non-cyber, life-long, real friends.

Because twitter is an open, uncensored slather, just like life itself, you have to deal with the best and the worst in society. The goodies shine through with an aura which makes them so special.

The bad are those who are bullies and racists, who are driven by negativity and a real desire to spoil, who can and will make life difficult for those of us who just want to have fun, be better informed, be entertained, be stimulated, and be open to all possibilities

This has been the case with #artwiculate, a daily word game that cluttered time lines throughout the world with wit, hilarity and extraordinary cleverness. It was my early ventures into this game that unexpectedly resulted in good friends being made; some I’ve met in the real world, some I intend to meet and others if I can possibly organize it. These friends on twitter have become part of my daily life.

As a result of the constant barrage from trolls who are cyber’s equivalent to vandals and bullies, the artwiculate site has been closed. It is a helluva shame. I don’t blame the artwiculate site creators who, at their own personal cost, have run the site for three years, have had to put up with their site being hacked in the last few months, as well as also being the recipient of the abuse generated by one or two.

See previous blog post

This does give me a chance to thank those artwiculate players with whom I’ve connected over the past 10 months or so.  I’m grateful for their patience as they taught me how to index (thanks Viv, Liv, Elisaki and George), changed my avi when I couldn’t, and put up with my random musings often with expletives undeleted that should have offended and never seemed to.

It was through artwiculate I came across @no_left_feet, also known as @one_right_foot. I only knew her as Hops. I didn’t know her name until yesterday when I read about her death at the age of 36.

Fuck, she was funny.

At no stage did her illness seem to taint the approach she brought to twitter. She was always on for a game. When she released the news a couple of months ago that her cancer had returned she remained positive and upbeat. If anyone was going to beat this it was going to be Hops through the power of laughter.

I always sat back when I saw @designarhyme and Hops on my TL as I knew I was in for a laugh a minute ride watching two master wordsmiths at work. It was like watching two duelling fencers. Rhyming couplets at ten paces. It didn’t matter what was the subject matter, the rhyming duel was on. It was flirtatious, clever, apt, often very naughty and always very funny. I got caught up with them a couple of times when I’d be rhymed out after 3 or 4 attempts and I’d sit back, follow their conversation, and roar with laughter until I’d snort, which is especially embarrassing if one is drinking coffee at the time.

How you set about explaining to a group of tweatherns (thank you Silia), people who don’t tweet, that you are crying for a woman you’d never met, whose real name you never knew and who lived on the other side of the planet, is not easy.

The attempted explanations are a real indication of what is good about twitter, and what was good about #artwiculate. There is a  sense of community devoid of the boundaries that usually divide. Boundaries of nationality, ethnicity, religion, class or life experiences become irrelevant, and instead are replaced by the shared joy of life in general, and word games in particular.

This joy of life Hops had in buckets and is why we all recognise just how much she will be missed.

If you want to see evidence of the good in this social networking world we call twitter then connect via the link below, to a collection of tweets starting off with an ode to @no_left_feet written by @designarhyme, as well as other contributions from across the planet courtesy of the compilation work by @milesorru

#RIPAmanda #FuckCancer

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