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The Twitter Index


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

September 17th, 2013

Rising: People who haven't seen Breaking Bad yet

Some people haven’t seen the latest episode of Breaking Bad yet. Nor have I, as it goes. Difference is, I’ve not seen any episodes of Breaking Bad yet, so spoilers bounce off me harmlessly, like peas flicked at a cushion. These guys, however, are furious. And rightly so. Or not rightly so, depending on your attitude towards spoilers.

Thing is, as we know, you can’t unsee what you’ve seen. If you’ve seen the spoiler it’s already spoiled. Your tweet of spoiler rage achieves nothing, really, other than to notch up another howl of spoiler anguish on the spoiler counter.

Everyone talks about the whole TV-watch-along enjoyment of Twitter, the way it enables us to experience shows as if we were all sat on a gigantic sofa stuffing our faces with crisps, but the people who aren’t able to sit on that sofa can get murderous, and it’s not because they’re missing out on the crisps. Sod the crisps. They don’t want the crisps, and they don’t want the plot twists spelled out in 140 characters.

Some people offer what you might call a legitimate excuse, bearing in mind that social media is meant to facilitate constant brain splurges:

And others offer the only advice it’s possible to offer, bearing in mind that people won’t shut up about Breaking Bad. People won’t shut up about anything. If there’s one medium that’s ill-suited to the notion of shutting up, it’s Twitter.


September 16th, 2013

Rising: Drunktweeting

I think it was Winston Churchill who said:

I wasn't brought up in that fashion. While many people would find it irritating to have their Twitter timelines polluted with a string of incoherent tweets from someone who's just knocked back half a bottle of Jägermeister, I have admiration for anyone who a) tries to communicate electronically when utterly leathered, and b) doesn't delete stuff the following morning as shame envelops them. Last night my friend @gibbzer tweeted this classic of the genre:

Having been in that situation myself, where the urge to tweet overrides your physical ability to carry out it effectively, I can picture the scene; you're slumped on a chair, eyes struggling to focus, fingers jabbing away semi-randomly as you groan gently, knowing deep down that some bastard's going to pick you up on your spelling.

In fact, smartphone technology is reducing the incidence of badly-spelled drunk tweets; it recognises any sozzled, fat-fingered attempts at typing the word "drunk" and corrects it to "drunk". But not everyone has the latest phones.

"Wlak" doesn't always get corrected, either.

Or, for that matter, "hammered":

But if you're really going to ensure maximum incoherence with minimal assistance from spellcheckers, it's best to wait until you get home, you're feeling a bit needy, you're sat in front of a keyboard, and you get ask.fm up on the screen. Go on, Matt. Go for it.


September 11th, 2013

Rising: 9/11 ambivalence

As the horrific events of September 11th 2001 unfolded, I was sitting in an office in London's Mornington Crescent, engaged in the mind-numbing task of creating animated GIFs. I was working for one of those book clubs, you know, the ones where you'd foolishly succumb to a "3 books for £1.99" offer and then be postally harangued for the rest of your life with gaudy leaflets commanding you to buy more. The workforce was young, mainly in their early twenties, and it's safe to say that as the news unfolded on our computer screens the vast majority of them couldn't give a monkeys. As I stared in disbelief at the images on the news, my colleagues continued to laugh about blowoffs or whatever. Whether it was through geopolitical ignorance or a misalignment of priorities viz a viz blowoffs / terrorism, they didn't care.

And today, 12 years on, as the consequences of the 9/11 attacks continue to play out in the Middle East and around the world, there are still countless people who see it as inconsequential, who rank its importance somewhere alongside a missing dressing gown belt or an inability to successfully grow cress.

Of course, tragedy plus time equals shrugs of ambivalence; you won't see me getting too worked up about the destruction of Pompeii or the brutal acts of Vlad The Impaler. But it was only 12 years ago, guys.

Ideally, we should follow the example of Olivia, whose heartfelt epitaph for the survivors of 9/11 has been much retweeted this morning – albeit with reminders that the survivors actually came out of it pretty well.


September 10th, 2013

Flatlining: #journorequest

The noble profession of journalism may or may not be dying on its arse, but there's still a lot of space to fill with words, that mean something, placed in sequence, about things. Social media may or may not be playing a significant role in tearing journalism a new one, but it proves to be bloody useful when you're looking for case studies to feature in pieces about things like, I don't know, women aged 60 who think that adverts should show people her age modelling clothes.

In the past, journalists would have gone mental trying to track down a vintage wedding dress expert to answer some questions by the end of the day for a bridal feature, firstly phoning everyone in their "bulging book of contacts", then repeatedly drawing a blank and eventually ascribing a quote to someone who doesn't exist. But Twitter makes all that easy.

It's one of the ten rules of Twitter: everyone knows someone who knows someone who's had a close shave with an animal attack whilst travelling abroad.

Here you go!

You could say that #journorequest is a manifestation of extreme laziness, an abdication of responsibility, something you can sling on Twitter to prove that you're doing your job before firing up Candy Crush Saga for a bit until someone bothers to reply.

But, you know, it's not easy slinging together a couple of thousand words about a bunch of disparate and distressingly specific subjects over the course of a day

I'm not convinced that anyone actually follows #journorequest. I just imagined myself doing so, sitting there, waiting for someone to tweet "Does anyone know a balding half-Welsh bloke who's a lapsed bassoon player? #journorequest" and me leaping in. Nah. #journorequest, if anything, is an apology. An admission that your initial avenues of enquiry have failed, that you're turning to Twitter for help, and that anyone who can't help should just disregard the tweet and please, please not punish you with an unfollow.

Tomorrow, #witch.



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