The maths geek, author and former radio presenter uses technology to connect with fans (and chess rivals), though he’s made the odd enemy in the process. A heads-up: don’t slam 5 Seconds of Summer on Twitter.
What’s your latest technology purchase?
A guy at a technology conference gave me a combination 64-gigabyte memory-stick bottle opener – the most Aussie piece of technology ever. But as he told me, if the memory stick is inserted in a computer and you want to open a beer, remove the memory stick first.
Needless to say, you’re happy with it...
Yeah, it’s great. I plan to give both ends a thorough workout this weekend.
What social networks do you use?
Mainly Twitter (@adambspencer). Rob Delaney’s tweets are hilarious and very, very wrong. Mark Scott and Mark Colvin from the ABC are fascinating people to follow. If those guys say something is interesting, I tend to go straight to it. The other thing I use Twitter for is publicity, with either witty observations about the world or directly plugging my book and gigs. I have about 70,000 followers. I do a bit of Facebook but I don’t do Instagram.
What apps do you use the most?
Chess.com and I’m mad on Twitter. Unblock Me is a little game that I love. If my two kids want to watch anything online or play Minecraft, first they have to do some time on Quick Maths and Quick Fractions – two Aussie mathematics apps that are awesome for children.
Real books or e-books?
Real books. I have a rare skill: I can walk and read at the same time, really well. So I go for long walks up and down the beach just reading.
Wi-fi on planes: yes or no?
No. If the loser behind me on the tarmac at Gold Coast Airport this morning had been able to keep talking during the flight, I think someone would have taken matters into their own hands.
What’s your worst technology habit?
Playing online chess when I’ve had a glass of wine and not playing as well as I could, which is average at best. Then I get angry with myself for making stupid moves.
In a long queue, what are you doing?
A cryptic crossword, either from David Astle in the Fairfax press or The Times cryptic crossword in The Australian. I always have that with me.
You don’t use technology in that time?
I have about 20 tweets saved as drafts so if it’s been a while since I’ve tweeted, I’ll send out one of those pre-written and timeless, hilarious observations about the world.
Have you ever regretted a tweet?
I didn’t regret it but I got a taste of the potential fury of the Twitterverse when I shared my opinion of the band 5 Seconds of Summer, which wasn’t particularly positive.
How did that go for you?
Someone connected to the band retweeted it with a savage reply. That woman’s hundreds of thousands of 13-year-old-girl Twitter followers flamed me for about 48 hours. It was hilarious. I was in the middle of an absolute firestorm of: “What would this fat, bald, old prick know?”
What’s your favourite social-media moment?
I once got a retweet from Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion. I was pretty happy with that.
What piece of technology do you covet?
I would like a driverless electric car.
What’s been the best tech invention?
I’m still struggling to go past that 64-gig bottle opener. ￼
Signed copies of Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers are available at adamspencer.com.au.