If you've never had a restaurant get in touch with you because it heard you had a crush on one of its waitresses, you might not fully appreciate how weird I found Twitter recently.
I had taken a friend to a restaurant called Giraffe, on London's South Bank. After a gorgeous meal -- and, crucial to this story, several glasses of wine -- I happened to mention on Twitter that I thought our waitress was cute. I thought nothing of it, and left full of beef and grapes.
Then a couple of hours later something weird happened: I got a message from a Giraffe employee. "We have quite a few cute staff at South Bank... Wanna describe her??"
Erm. That's odd. Also, I suddenly felt like a total sleaze -- the type of dude I spend most of my time wanting to slap. See, when I idly posted my opinion on Twitter, I didn't account for the restaurant's marketing people actively monitoring the site for uses of the word 'giraffe'.
But the restaurant's marketing 'team' -- actually a very pleasant lady called Vikki O'Neill -- makes extremely pro-active use of the site for keeping in touch with the restaurant's visitors. And, apparently, matchmaking.
"We started twittering about six months ago, dabbling a bit first as I just couldn't quite get my head around it," Vikki told me in a refreshingly honest email. "I quickly figured that talking like a dumb corporate was a big no no. I started engaging in tweets with people -- initially about what we were doing in the restaurant, uploading pics if we were busy.
"The more I got to know our fellow tweeters, the more random stuff we'd tweet about -- late trains, X Factor, the news etc, and it built relationships. It's a lot of fun."
Businesses across the globe are using Twitter to market themselves. But I've got to admit, pseudo-matchmaking has to be the most bizarre use of a corporate account I've ever encountered.
Now I just have to quash the overpowering feeling of being a total tool for writing the message in the first place. Maybe a burger will help.