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The Twitter Index

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

September 6th

Falling: #mysexlifeinmovietitles

#mysexlifeinmovietitles comes around so regularly on Twitter that it's a bit like the common cold – inevitable, irritating, not much you can do about it other than sit it out and wait for it to go away.

As far as hashtag games go it's wonderfully inclusive, because it requires precious little thought on the part of the person posting; no elaborate wordplay needed, no need to think of excruciating puns or construct any kind of reasoning behind the tweet; you just post the hashtag and the name of a film and hope that it means something. In fact, you could just go to iMDb's list of the top 250 movies of all time and just make your way through them, tweeting every single one in the hope that, eventually, you hit on something vaguely humorous or meaningful through the law of averages.

In fact, let's do it. Here you go. IMDb's top 20 films of all time, as voted for by its users, via the prism of an unfolding hashtag game on Twitter:


I could go on. I won't. Pointless shite.
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September 4th

Rising: @AvoidComments



Not all comments sections are rammed full of inane shite written by people who can't construct a coherent argument. Enlightening, beautifully-written comments are scattered plentifully across the internet, taking writers to task for erroneous facts, flawed logic, bad spelling or dubious opinions. Sadly they sit amongst grim examples of vapid cluelessness; comments so rude, witless and irrelevant that you wish you'd never scrolled down.



"Never read the bottom half of the internet", said my friend @LeoChadburn a couple of years ago – but it's very easy for easily-offended people like myself to forget his sage advice. Running to the rescue is @AvoidComments, a brilliantly simple Twitter service that reminds you every day that reading the comments sections might make you cross.



Sadly, because the account was devised by someone living in the USA, the reminder pops up at 5.30pm British time – frequently too late for anyone clicking through to today's news stories and blogposts. But eventually, the sheer repetition of the message might change our behaviour. Of course, you can always implement a mental override, ignore the instruction of @AvoidComments and read any comments sections that you desire. But take a deep breath before you do so. You never know what's lurking down there.

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September 3rd

Rising: #SecondarySchoolMemories

I'm finding that can't identify with #SecondarySchoolMemories. Firstly because we didn't have secondary schools in my county, we had lower, middle and upper schools, but hey, that's just semantics. The second reason is because… well, times have changed. When I was 13, we'd sit on the playing field at lunchtime and ascertain from the latest chart rundown that Frankie Goes To Hollywood were still number 1 with "Two Tribes", before wandering back to lessons. If things got CRAZY out of control, someone would run down a grass bank and they'd get seen by an adult and they'd get sent to Mr Jones because running down that grass bank was forbidden because if everyone did it it would become a gigantic mudslide. We generally respected how inappropriate it would be to have a mudslide at school. Generally, we were good boys and girls. But some of the reminiscences on #secondaryschoolmemories are verging on horrific.

Ah, the cricket bat fights. Good times.

If kids weren't assaulting each other with chemical weapons or selling each other into slavery, they were laughing at each other's misfortune:

But the following tweets are the most intriguing revelations contained within #SecondarySchoolMemories. Intriguing, because I genuinely have no idea what they mean. Yes, I'm white, middle-class, 41 years old and school was a bloody long time ago, but man alive, times are changing fast. God knows what these kids would make of Billy Bunter novels.

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AUGUST 30th

Falling: Answers to the Syrian question

Some stuff can't be summed up accurately in 140 characters. The principles of Euclidian geometry. The plot of James Joyce's Ulysses. And many other things, including the correct response of Western nations to the Syrian crisis. MPs in the House of Commons managed to fill about eight hours of debate yesterday on this subject; the answer is evidently Not Simple. But on Twitter, simple answers were chucked about gaily by people who are yet to have the privilege of holding public office.

If it wasn't evident from the acres of newsprint, hours of television coverage and petabytes of blog posts on the subject, there are no simple answers, no simple solutions. But simple answers and simple solutions have nevertheless been offered up to the internet in their thousands – and, it seems, almost totally unheeded by our elected representatives: Others found the geopolitical ramifications of the debate to fall short of the standards they expect from a social media service: While many US citizens chose to reveal how the Syrian crisis has affected them personally: When I said at the beginning of this post that this issue couldn't be summed up in 140 characters, I was, of course, wrong. These people have unwittingly nailed it.

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