The Twitter Index

The Twitter Index

Tracking the soaring stocks and junk bonds of social media, helping you to invest carefully and speculate wisely. (By Rhodri Marsden)

July 12th

Rising: "@Mangal2"

If you live in North East London and you fancy a bit of Turkish grub, you’ll generally head for the stretch of the A10 between Dalston Junction and Stoke Newington. (If you don’t live in North East London, well, you can safely ignore this paragraph – but be sure to meet up with me for paragraph two where I’ll be a bit more inclusive and a whole heap less cliquey.) Personally, I tend to head for Numera 19 Bos Cirrik, next to Bardens, the old furniture showroom. But I’m frequently diverted by the idea of Mangal 2. You know that Mangal 2 is a quality establishment because artists Gilbert and George are in there pretty much every evening. But now there’s another reason to favour them over the competition.

Because Mangal 2 run the most bad-tempered, cynical, world-weary restaurant Twitter account in existence. Most restaurant Twitter accounts post stuff like this: or this: or this: But @Mangal2 post things like this: and this: and this: Mangal 2’s brutal honesty about its own shortcomings is so refreshing – it’s like @MumfordAndSons tweeting “We make persistently risible attempts at writing music”. Incidentally, Mangal 2 don’t like Mumford And Sons, either: In fact, they don’t like hipsters at all, which is problematic, considering that their restaurant – through no fault of their own – has ended up slap bang in the middle of hipsterville. They’re doing all they can to dissuade them from booking a table: Anyway, I’ve no idea whether @Mangal2’s social media strategy is reaping any kind of dividends, but I hope it is. And if it is, I hope that everyone else, from @McDonalds to @JSheekeyRest, will now follow suit.

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July 11th

Falling: "@KTHopkins"

I have no real idea who Katie Hopkins is or what she might have achieved, other than what it says in her Twitter bio. I’m only looking at that right now because everyone’s banging on about what a pain in the arse she is. She’s used the phrase “telling it like it is”, which is a bad start, because, as we know, “telling it like it is” is idiotspeak for “Forcefully expressing facile opinions on complex issues without conceding any ground on any points whatsoever because of some misconceived notion of being right 100% of the time.” She also describes herself as a “social commentator”, which is like saying you breathe air.

Anyway, I’ve been reading her Twitter account and I reckon the following:

1) The reason people find her so infuriating isn’t necessarily because of her loonball opinions on everything from Christian names to supermarkets, it’s because she’s so insufferably smug about it. In the same way politicians are described as conviction politicians, Hopkins is a conviction social commentator. She has never once said “Oh, hang on. You might be right.” Of course, she sees this as a character asset – as do politicians, that fixation with never, ever, ever changing ones mind. She’s taken Thatcher’s “lady’s not for turning” line and turned it into a personal manifesto in 72pt Helvetica.

2) Criticising her to her face is pointless. Don’t bother. Nothing you say will ever deviate her from her unwavering commitment to “telling it like it is”. The fact that people get angry with her only makes her even more sure that what she said in the first place was right. It’s like some kind of freakish disorder.

3) She thinks there are “dark forces” trying to undermine her. There aren’t. There are just a load of people who think she’s an idiot.

4) The number of people who think she’s an idiot is hard to quantify exactly, but judging by a Twitter search for replies to her account, it seems to be about 1 positive comment to about 20 negative. She tends to retweet the positive ones.

5) She has an idea for a tweet, tweets it, and then tweets it again if not enough people reacted first time around. Yesterday: 10 minutes later, at 6.42am, she claims that Costa is rammed with mothers breast feeding: 6 minutes later she has another go. Most people haven’t even got up yet. Another stab 3 minutes later: She thinks for a bit. Then: and She’s pretty much covered the subject of breastfeeding now, that’s dealt with, so she moves on to tan tights. Yep, this should have some mileage. 5 minutes later: In the afternoon she has another go: In summary, Hopkins’ biggest crime isn’t being a confused, slightly bigoted troll in human form. It’s being persistently, predictably boring. Next.

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July 9th

Falling: "#FailedBiscuits"

#FailedBiscuits: a perfect example of a pun-based hashtag. This usually involves incorporating two disparate ideas into one, i.e. Fruity Films (Appleocalypse Now) or Country Singers (Argentina Turner). Thing is, with any of these kind of games there tend to be a finite number of genuinely funny examples. Duplicates are rife. Beyond rife. Endemic, even. Here's an original: And here come the dupes: You might think it's a coincidence that everyone comes up with "Jammy Todgers" just moments after a noted TV comic has done so, but hey, there's many more examples to choose from. Here's the original: And here come the dupes: You get the idea. I'm surprised that Mustard Creams isn't trending just under #FailedBiscuits. If I had my way, there'd be a rule imposed that you are obliged to perform a Twitter search for your joke before you make the joke, in order to see if anyone else has done the joke. Then, if you duplicate a joke, your Twitter account is automatically disabled. This is one of the many reasons why I've failed to make millions creating my own hugely popular social media platform.

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July 8th

Rising: "@WHS_carpet"

Much has been written about the capacity of Twitter to organise protest and initiate revolution, but very little has ever been said about the way it enables us to look at bad carpet. Twitter has allowed us to log hundreds if not thousands of bad carpets, whether they're located in Delhi or Delaware – but if, like me, you've become weary of the bad carpet free-for-all, you'll be looking for something a little more niche. Something like @WHS_Carpet. @WHS_Carpet has one noble aim: to highlight the inability of newsagent chain WHSmith to take good care of its carpets and provide us with a walking surface that isn't shit. It's taken for granted, of course, that the blue, hexagonal carpet design favoured by WHS is woeful – after all, you're never going to find a silk Persian number in Welwyn Garden City underneath some green biros and an unsold copy of Guns & Ammo. No, this is just a relentless stream of depressing scenes of carpet abuse. To be honest, I couldn't tell you whether the state of the carpet in WHSmith is any better or any worse than in branches of Burtons, Vision Express, Debenhams or Gamble-O-Thon Amusements, and whether the creator of @WHS_Carpet just has some bizarre vendetta against newsagents. But you've got to admit – this is a shit carpet.

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July 4th

Rising: "@ITSSADWHEN"

Twitter's not the best place for philosophising. There's just not enough room to properly explore notions of ethics or scientific realism. Yes, Alain de Botton regularly posts the odd cute aphorism, but they're generally to do with being a writer or a dad. Many of us are neither dads or writers. So, where are the Twitter accounts that bring us universal truths? Not here: Fortunately we have available to us @ITSSADWHEN, a capitalised voyage through life's more distressing moments, snapshots of misery that we can either identify with or use to remind us how comparatively lucky we are. We can rate the usefulness of @ITSADWHEN by comparing and contrasting its reflections and observations of with members of the Twitter community who THINK they know when things are sad, but evidently don't possess @ITSSADWHEN's searing insight: To end with, my favourite. Which has happened to us all:

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