John Lamb’s column stirred up a wave of strongly-worded comments left online from readers, most of whom took issue with his dismissal of websites such as Twitter as “absurdities” and Facebook as a “meaningless fad”.
Pezholio left a comment saying: “If you follow people who only talk about what they have for breakfast, then you’re going to get tedious content.
“Do I go around crying that newspapers are rubbish because I once read the Daily Mail? Twitter is a platform, just like telephones, newspapers or magazines.”
DomBurf agreed, saying: “Your comment is akin to rubbishing a newspaper because it has a gossip section, conveniently neglecting the hard-hitting political sections.
“People use Twitter for many reasons; socialising, networking, voicing opinions, posting interesting/useful/informative links, giving their charity a voice, campaigning for a cause.”
Benjibrum said Twitter was not just about building relationships online.
“There’s also an encouraging and warm community spirit. People are keen to help each other out, frequently pitching in on projects. There’s monthly coffee mornings, “blogger” meets and social media networking events all coordinated in part through Twitter.”
PRBloke came out broadly in Mr Lamb’s favour, saying: “There is so much happening beyond a computer screen and, yes, some of it does involve a pint.”
Mr Lamb responded to the comments by saying he had never meant to attack Twitter – he was instead poking fun at friends’ updates on Facebook.
He said: “I was taking the mickey out of a few friends whose contributions were fairly banal – it’s as simple as that.”
And he denied being a “dinosaur” saying Birmingham Chamber of Commerce was actively looking ways the organisation could help its members tap into digital opportunities.
He said: “Birmingham Chamber is only too aware of the enormous opportunity digital media presents and I am involved heavily in the continuing development of a strategy that will allow the organisation to take full advantage.
“This involves engaging with businesses on the best way forward and a drive to understand fully how this can work, putting to one side the bar-room type of chit-chat to which I referred.”
Chris Tomlinson, of social media and online PR firm Friend Digital, offered Mr Lamb some free training on social media – and Mr Lamb said he would happily take up the offer.