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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)

July 2nd

Falling: "Asking for help"

If you've got 416,000 followers, Twitter's an obvious place to seek help with life's little woes. Yesterday, @ElizabethHurley, laid low with a summer cold, was sitting on her sofa watching live coverage from Wimbledon. Suddenly, she was instructed by Sue Barker to press "the red button" in order to watch the game she was particularly interested in. The red button? What's a red button? Twitter, ever obliging, leapt to her assistance, because what she really wanted right then was not to watch tennis, but rather wade through a load of unsuccessful stabs at humour. Elizabeth, still no wiser as to the whys and wherefores of this mythical red button, unleashed another heartfelt plea. Twitter, again, lent a helping hand in the only way it knows how – by dicking about and not answering the question. By this point, you wouldn't blame Liz for unleashing a stream of abusive tweets – the kind that would probably get her a page of coverage plus bikini shots in MailOnline. But she didn't, so she's ended up in @ShortList instead. Fortunately, there were a smattering of helpful people on Twitter who were able to guide her to the red button. At which point she could continue her viewing, unhindered by the Twitter community. So, next time you see someone with hundreds of thousands of followers saying "Please, no jokes", the above is a pretty good illustration as to why that is.

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June 27th

Falling: "Mandela gun-jumpers"

At the time of writing, Nelson Mandela is alive. You’d be hard pushed to say that he’s alive and kicking, but he’s certainly alive. This, however, doesn’t stop some people attempting to be first with news before the news has even broken. @CNN_BREAKING_ is, of course, a fake CNN account, as its next tweet unsubtly reveals: But that doesn’t stop thousands of people unquestioningly retweeting the “news”, and in some cases adding their own moving tributes: Others choose to hazard wild guesses that he might have died, based upon hunches: Others pose riddles: To which the answer is “people who tweet that Mandela has died and then immediately retract their claims within the same tweet in order to hang onto some kind of credibility as a much-valued news source”: First with news can often mean being worst with news, as Australian politician Gary Gray discovered last night when, perhaps taking his cue from trigger-happy gun-jumpers on Twitter, he wrongly told guests attending a Minerals Council of Australia dinner that Mandela had died. He hadn’t. And he still hasn’t. Look, these three people are saying so, it must be true. Oh, but hang on, hang on – has anyone checked what Dan McDermott is saying about this? BBC, CNN, SKY – CLEAR THE SCHEDULES. MCDERMOTT HAS SPOKEN.

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June 26th

Falling: "Andrew Selous MP"

Let’s first remind ourselves of Hartman's Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation, which states the following: Any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one eror". The last tweet sent by Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire, is a prime example. He’s taken it down, now, but fortunately the evidence will exist for evermore:

Andrew now joins an exclusive club that includes such illustrious names as Fidel Pichardo: Morgan Anderson: Francesca Sotomayor: Emily Sherman: and Darren Mole: None of these people will suffer quite so much ridicule as Andrew has, though.

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JUNE 24th

In the months leading up to today, the #wimbledon hashtag has largely been populated with news of rather dull goings on in south west London, e.g. But that’s all changed. Now #wimbledon has become a deluge of observations about grass court tennis, and right now, more specifically, Maria Sharapova. Very strict etiquette surrounds tweets about Ms Sharapova: Men must say that she’s “smoking hot” (or similar) while women must say that she grunts too loudly. Let’s just see this in action: Truly skilful Twitter operators, however, are able to combine the sexy / noisy tropes into a single pithy observation. Watch, learn: Ace. If only someone could get the word “balls” in there too, we could depart from Twitter for the day in the knowledge that the subject of tennis has been effectively dealt with. Oh, here we go:

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The Twitter Index

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The Twitter Index

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