What a crazy journey! I can't believe all the celebrities I've overtaken. Lily Allen seemed impossible to beat - how could I ever get over 3000 votes? It happened. Not quite sure how, but I beat her and this morning I overtook Vanessa White from The Saturdays.
What I'm Learning
Ms Twitter is basically a popularity contest. My preconceptions were that on the level playing field of Twitter, the usual stereotypes would rise to the top: models and celebs with professional photos, make-up artist-and-cosmetic-surgeon-perfected faces and publicity machines would wipe the floor with the 'normals'. After all, that's what M.O.P.s (Members of the Public) are for. Hasn't happened though.
True, all the others in the top 10 are celebrities...but I'm not. The person behind me was born in a year in which I remember lying in a field with my friends and a bottle of cheap cider, and watching the stars above as The Cure left outdoor speakers and thudded through the ground beneath us.
My lack of spring-chickenyness caused a crisis of confidence early in the competition when I had to wade through a field of impossibly beautiful young models. I asked my followers on Twitter for advice. They would need to put in all the hard work to get me to the front page after all, so I needed to know how they wanted me to play it.
Back in the day, I wasn't bad looking and I have some old modelly shots I thought I could pull out so I'd be fighting the battle with a youthful face at the very least. They said I must not do this. They were very firm on this point. Interestingly, they were also fairly evenly split between the genders. It was almost unanimously decided that I must fight with brains only.
That said, the fact that I've suffered brain injury was to be no excuse for failure. A number of people with disabilities and hidden illnesses also got on board. I wasn't going to be allowed to hide behind any physical difficulties because they wouldn't let me. They encouraged me to use what I have now and focus on winning. Strict crowd.
The Battle Plan
All possible excuses for failure now behind me, we came up with a battle plan we could all stick to. The slogan of the campaign would be:
The weapons we would use to fight the battle would be the tools of what became known as 'literary stand-up.'
Through trial and error, we discovered that I can come up with ideas very fast so this became my strategy for gaining votes. When votes were needed, I'd make myself really vulnerable and let people quiz me however they felt fit.
Of course, this was all under the watchful eyes of the publishers and media types that follow me so it was a huge gamble but it paid off. Before long, agents and publishers also joined in. Not only were they asking me questions and requesting haiku, stories, medieval translations etc against the clock but they were even promoting my bid for the Ms Twitter UK title and encouraging others in the literary world to follow me.
The contest is not over. I've no idea whether or not I will be in the lead when it closes. What I do know, however, is that thousands of people have followed my progress over the last couple of weeks and, after weeding out most of them, a good thousand or so remain. Of these, about 90% are die-hard book fans and they've fought for my success. Chaps... I have a platform. Mission accomplished.
Ms Twitter UK: http://rebeccawoodhead.com/vote
My Twitter Page: http://rebeccawoodhead.com/twitter