Tracking the soaring stocks and junk bonds of social media, helping you to invest carefully and speculate wisely. (By Rhodri Marsden)
March 25th, 2014
Social media is no place to be during such times. When you're feeling low, everyone else is having a better time than you are, and it seems as if the bastards are rubbing your nose in it. You draw direct comparisons between your life and other people's, you see their achievements as your missed opportunities, their gains as your losses, their beautiful wives, husbands or children as monumental pains in the arse. You start thinking of happiness as a finite resource: if it's used excessively by other people you'll surely be left crying in some alleyway with no bus fare home and suffering the ignominy of having beetroot stains on your shirt.
These are not #happydays for me, so all these people can, to put it politely, get knotted:
Well done to me#happydays- Rachelle Davis (@RachelleDx) March 25, 2014
Waking up feeling so blessed with the life situation I'm currently in #happydays- stephanie myers (@StephanieAMyers) March 25, 2014
Life is extremely good to me at the minute #happydays 👌- Emma Kate Evans (@MissEmmaKate21) March 25, 2014
OMG THINGS ARE LOOKING GOOD!!!! #happydays- Sophie Hankin (@sophiehankinx) March 25, 2014
My day just keeps getting better :) #HappyDays- Hem, Your Pants. (@Hemlata_Singh) March 25, 2014
But hang on. I should get some perspective. I may be experiencing an existential crisis related to my failure to achieve rather grand and completely arbitrary life targets I've set myself, but it's still possible to have #happydays. I just have to take pleasure in the more mundane, to appreciate the smaller things in life and delight in them. Just like these people:
Cleaning done! Now time for a bit of Jeremy Kyle #happydays- Stacey Galloway (@7Staceyg) March 25, 2014
Porridge for breakfast along with a cuppa #happydays- Paul mitchell (@Paulmitchell100) March 25, 2014
I tried a new face wash on my face tonight and literally within 20 minutes nearly all my spots have disappeared yay #HappyDays— (_) (@Hazel_Currie) March 24, 2014
Yes,dogsitting Friday #HappyDays- blueeyes (@anitamum78) March 25, 2014
Starting to feel slightly normal and not done a danger fart for the last hour #happydays- Paul (@PaulDixon_) March 25, 2014
In bed with a brew #happydays- Claire Burrows (@claire_burrows1) March 24, 2014
Dirty dancing tonight with Mildred :):) #happydays- Vicky Jackson (@vicky_j_) March 25, 2014
The moral of this story: if you click on the hashtag #happydays with the express intention of railing against the people who currently have it better than you, like some kind of misanthropic arsehole, you will in fact end up laughing at someone who's utterly delighted that they've not done a danger fart for the last hour. We should all learn from this. I certainly will. Happy days.
March 21st, 2014
Falling: The Beatles are overrated
The Beatles are overrated.- Craig (@CKEH89) March 18, 2014
The Beatles are overrated.- Lowiesz (@UrenaLuisito) February 19, 2014
The Beatles are overrated.- Bas Grasmayer (@Spartz) February 18, 2014
The Beatles are overrated.- BiG PAPi (@actionhank_) September 20, 2013
What they're saying is that if you like The Beatles then you don't like them as much as you think you do. You may have taken a moment to rate The Beatles, but you've done it wrong. You've maybe rated them as an 8, but they're perhaps a 6, or at best a 6.5. Your brain has played a trick on you. You've been swayed by the sheer weight of public opinion and made incorrect assessments as a result. You are merely the unwilling participants in a 50 year-long thought experiment. The popularity of the loveable Scouser mop-tops is merely a consequence of some kind of mass psychosis. It's the same with Mount Everest. It's overrated.
There are so many examples on Twitter of people saying that The Beatles are overrated that a statement like this is laughable:
I must be the only person in the world who thinks The Beatles are overrated- bram (@hollybrammah) July 21, 2013
– but there are different ways of doing it. First up, we have the people who for months, if not years, have been exasperated by the fact that humans have quietly gone about their Beatles-loving business and refused to accept the supremely obvious. But now it is time. It is time for a bold soldier of truth to "take to Twitter" and lead a movement which will restore some kind of sanity among the population. ARE YOU READY, EARTH?
Fine. I'll say it... the Beatles are overrated.- The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) February 10, 2014
Then we have those who have not yet been asked if they think that the Beatles are overrated. That moment is probably not far off, however, and it is time to prepare us for what might happen should that eventuality occur. Brace. Brace.
the Beatles are overrated if you ask me- Johnny Boy (@JME_2003) January 27, 2014
There are those who whizz in and then whizz out, without punctuation but with a mumbled apology, clearly unconfident in their own opinion but gently dipping their toe in the water of Beatles overratedness before coming back stronger next time.
the Beatles are overrated oops- ginny WARPED 108 (@freezeharry) January 27, 2014
Others believe it to be a secret, to be passed around in hushed tones, barely audible, lest the plan to correct decades of misguided thought somehow falters, but they need to be careful, because whispering can be hard to hear and it's not impossible that people will assume that Beadle's ovulated.
(whispers) The Beatles are overrated.- SISTER INDICA (@SISTERINDICA) September 19, 2013
There are insistent, flag-waving proclaimers, their feet cemented into concrete on this issue, refusing to budge even in the face of gently sarcastic blog posts like this one:
The Beatles ARE overrated.- ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ (@BuddyFerrera) August 25, 2013
And then there's this, based upon extensive polling conducted internationally:
In my opinion The Beatles are overrated. Most people only like them because they think they're supposed to- not because they enjoy the music- Sick, Dull and Plain (@paigeseabridge) August 14, 2012
how can you say that the beatles are overrated thats just silly- The Beatles (@taintedsheart) March 17, 2014
March 19th, 2014
@VoluntaryAnarch who are you and why are you retweeting my tweets?- Peter Merrick (@PeterMerrickUK) March 19, 2014
Let's look for a moment at the curious world of Peter Merrick. According to his bio, Peter lives in Sussex in what appears to be a pleasant semi-detached house. He's been posting on Twitter since 2011, and in that time has posted over 24,000 tweets. Many of them look like this:
@dylmei who are you and why are you retweeting my tweets?- Peter Merrick (@PeterMerrickUK) March 19, 2014
@GarethSoye who are you and why are you retweeting my tweets?- Peter Merrick (@PeterMerrickUK) March 19, 2014
@AuralGloria who are you and why are you retweeting my tweets?- Peter Merrick (@PeterMerrickUK) March 19, 2014
Peter's been knocking around for a while, and you forget that he exists. But then someone will remember that there's this bloke down in Sussex who, whenever you retweet one of his tweets, will ask you who you are and why you're retweeting one of his tweets. They then retweet one of his tweets, and he asks them who they are and why they are retweeting his tweets. That then gets retweeted by someone else, and Peter immediately asks them who they are and why they're retweeting one of his tweets. And so it goes on. It reminds me of one of those games you'd play on residential school trips when there'd be a bunch of you sleeping in a dormitory, and someone would make a silly noise, and then everyone would laugh, and then someone else would do it, and everyone would laugh, and then it would happen again, and again, with fewer people laughing, and more people getting exasperated, but then the exasperated people would join in too, and other people would laugh, and on it goes, deep into the night, silly noises and laughing, until suddenly it's 7am and it's time to get up.
But it's still not time to get up.
@SarahMcRanty why are you retweeting my tweets?- Peter Merrick (@PeterMerrickUK) March 18, 2014
Peter's social media output is, even by the standards of Twitter, monumentally dull. It generally consists of links to Wikipedia articles and BBC News stories, with the odd reference to his personal life:
second driving lesson finished- Peter Merrick (@PeterMerrickUK) March 19, 2014
But there's more to Peter than meets the eye. The more you read his tweets, the more you suspect that there's a savvy social media operator behind this account, screaming with laughter has he or she spends 12 hours posting things like this:
I used to think that retweeting Peter Merrick was almost a form of online bullying, prodding someone with a stick and forcing them to react against their will. But I think Peter's a willing participant in all this. It's been going on for too long now to be anything other than the most elaborately dull spoof account ever created. What Peter has done, here, is to create the gentlest suburban satire imaginable. It's Ever Decreasing Circles, homoeopathically diluted to the point where no jokes remain. Only the memory of jokes. Peter Merrick will land no book deal; this is all it will ever be.
BBC News - Hundreds attend Ferring housing protest http://t.co/9A0LFEH8Qu- Peter Merrick (@PeterMerrickUK) March 15, 2014
Peter's bio leads us over to his Facebook page. Here, in a different online landscape, Peter gently alters his catchphrases. "Who are you and why are you retweeting my tweets" becomes "who are you and why are you liking my posts" and "thanks for liking that":
And, perhaps most gloriously, "let us chat on chat":
"Let us chat on chat" is making tears run down my face with glee. But hang on. Maybe it's not an art-prank. Maybe Peter is a real person. Oh god. I just don't know anymore. Hm. Anyway, when the link to this Twitter Index is posted on Twitter, we'll link to @PeterMerrickUK. I don't know how he's going to react, but I'll be watching. Peter, I salute you. Let us chat on chat.
March 18th, 2014
Rising: "If I won the lottery..."
Let's get the generous people out of the way quickly:
If I won the lottery, i will help my family to rise up.- Klaudia Saballa (@KlauudiaSmiles) March 18, 2014
That was easy. Now down to business:
I'd be gutted if I won the lottery and I was married- I'm that Guy (@guyclewlow) March 18, 2014
If I won the lottery Id announce it just to see which gold-diggers start befriending me, before I ran them over in my Ferrari- Dan Turner (@DanLCFC93) March 18, 2014
Charitable, non? Holidays figure quite prominently in people's plans, as if they haven't quite twigged that the rest of their life is going to be spent on holiday, that it's a given, and they might as well say "The first thing I'd do if I won the lottery is have lots of money."
The first thing I'd do if I won the lottery is immediately book a holiday for TOMORROW- Lauren Bamford (@bamfxx) March 18, 2014
If I won the lottery is cop cars for all my real friends and then buy houses everywhere and just go on holiday forever- Zach (@ZachOld) March 18, 2014
if i won the lottery id pay off my families debt and take us all on a vacation to Italy and france- Michael matos (@NYsRicanGuido) March 18, 2014
If I won the lottery I'd fuck off to Bora Bora and never come back- Joey (@joeycaldecott) March 18, 2014
Some people would mark their departure from work in more imaginative ways:
If I won the lottery then I'd send my boss a £5 note with a picture of my arse attached to it- Stu Astbury (@Stuastbury) March 18, 2014
While others would make big purchases, spending untold sums on the things they've always dreamed of:
If I won the lottery id have @jamieoliver be my personal chef everyday.. heaven on a plate- Abi Emmerson (@abiemmerson) March 18, 2014
If I won the lottery, me and like 5 close friends would buy a house, by a crazy amount of drugs and chill for days and give no fucks- Ja Rouk 2.1 (@jakeruck22) March 18, 2014
Some people set their sights on more mundane, achievable things:
"If I won the lottery, I'd buy a train." - my husband- Allison Rust (@rebelroadco) March 18, 2014
If I won the lottery the first thing I would do would be to buy 350k twitter followers- Jake Kilgore (@Jake_Tweets_) March 18, 2014
If I won the lottery, first thing I'd build would be a gym.- Steph Pink (@SavagePink23) March 17, 2014
(Before, presumably, going on a veritable orgy of construction.)
Others would relish the freedom that the money afforded them to just get up to crazy larks:
If I won the lottery I would pay Kanye west to follow me around for a day and be my best friend- Jason Robinson (@jasonrobinsonos) March 17, 2014
If I won the lottery, I'd go to so many job interviews in a mermaid costume and ask if sprinklers are allowed in the office #juscoz- Andy Low (@awl75) March 18, 2014
Which might seem like a funny observation of Andy's, but it's actually been doing the rounds on Twitter for about a year and a half:
If I won the lottery; I'd go to so many job interviews in a mermaid costume & ask if sprinklers are allowed in the office to keep me moist.- Nick Toplass (@TitaniumToplass) September 24, 2012
Other far-fetched fantasies:
If I won the lottery I would legit fund a PSA campaign about how leggings are not trousers.- ruairidh (@rrrruairidh) March 18, 2014
If I won the lottery, the first thing I'd do is start an unprofitable desert doom rock band with the sole purpose of alienating people.- Kaleb Horton (@kalebhorton) March 18, 2014
if I won the lottery I'd make a room that was just a huge mattress with blankets, cushions, tv and a hatch to receive food- hannah long (@HaannLong) March 17, 2014
BUT HANNAH, YOU CAN DO THAT ALREADY. YOU HAVE DESCRIBED A CROSS BETWEEN YOUR FRONT ROOM AND A PRISON.
Some people aren't sure what to buy:
If I won the lottery, I would deffo buy stuff- Jon Thompson (@JonThompson99) March 18, 2014
While others aren't sure of anything, but they're gonna let you know about it regardless:
dunno what I'd do if I won the lottery tbh- ryan capewell (@ryancapewell) March 17, 2014