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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)

June 12th

Rising: "#FathersDay"

It's not Father's Day until Sunday, but #FathersDay is trending four days early – presumably because Wednesday is the last day one can place an order for some bunch of tat and be reasonably certain that it'll get there in time. The astonishing array of potential gifts whizzing past our eyes on Twitter this morning is faintly reminiscent of the Generation Game conveyor belt, except it's less of a memory game presided over by Bruce Forsyth as a test of patience presided over by your smartphone. Who knew that there were so many ways to display your affection to your old man, from Jamie Oliver Pans to theatre tickets to a chocolate and beer hamper – because chocolate is a classic accompaniment to beer, isn't it, that's why you see bars of Fruit & Nut sitting under the optics in pubs. I know that my dad would be delighted to be reminded of his role in bringing up his kids by being given some Eau de Nuit scent, a herb box and some Pilates vouchers. Or perhaps to have it insinuated that he has serious plaque issues, is suffering badly from dehydration and also has cold feet. This, however, is surely the most puzzling Father's Day gift that's been suggested on Twitter this morning.

"Dad Rocks!" is a 12-song compilation that was released on Monday by Demon Records, and I've been staring at this track listing for 20 minutes now, desperately trying to find any kind of unifying theme other than the fact that all the titles of the tunes contain either the letter "N" or the letter "R". If anyone can tell me what an orchestral version of Echo & The Bunnymen's "Killing Moon" has in common with "Solid Ball Of Rock" by Saxon, I'd be delighted to hear it. Anyway, that lot will surely solve any Father's Day dilemmas. Show him you care. Spend £3.99 on the audio equivalent of a municipal recycling unit.


June 11th

Rising: "Need coffee"

Everyone is knackered. Concentration levels are dipping alarmingly. The ferocious intensity of Monday has left us reeling. Tuesday stretches out before us like the salt flats of Utah, a seemingly endless expanse of daunting, relentless tedium. Fortunately, the ancient Ethiopeans invented a drink that, while not exactly solving the problem, certainly kicks it into the long grass for a bit. If you're tired – which you are, because everyone is – tweeting your desire for coffee conveys that message very nicely. It also communicates a certain air of sophistication, because coffee is a sexy drink, unless you're intending to lob a teaspoon of no-frills instant into an "I Visited Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway" mug and pour boiling water on it, in which case coffee is a shit drink. But no, these people will definitely be getting a proper coffee. You know, the kind people drink in coffee adverts. Because proper coffee is desirable, seductive. Much more so than a Pro Plus tablet. Coffee is so alluring that when people tweet that they need some, you can't help but wonder what they've been doing that's made them quite so tired. I reckon it will have been intense and aspirational. None of these people ever considered tweeting "So utterly devoid of energy that I fell asleep on the bus and a load of dribble congealed on a crease in my neck." Oh, look, men also need coffee: And if you're Maci Bookout, MTV star of the show "16 And Pregnant", and you say you need coffee, more than 300 people will retweet your need of coffee. Whoah. Might put the kettle on.


June 7th

Falling: "Lazy Royal parodies"

Substituting the words "I am" for "one is" does not a joke make. You might think it does, but it doesn't. It's pretty much the last refuge of the operator of any royal parody account. If the joke they've come up with isn't particularly strong, or the observation they're making isn't particularly sharp, they can just yawn quietly, substitute "I" for "one" and the retweets take care of themselves. Someone has even gathered all the satirical energy they can muster in order to repeatedly replace the words "I am" with "one is" on a Wallis Simpson parody account. Go Twitter! Prince Phillip is currently in hospital. This gives the operator of @HRH_PrincePhil the opportunity to post a load of tweets that replace the word "I" with "one". Pick a royal, any royal, and you can guarantee that someone will be posting some half-arsed humour with the word "I" substituted with "one". Or "my" with "one's". Or both. Thing is, I've never even heard anyone actually use "one" instead of "I" in this way, except when they're taking the piss out of someone posh. Sure, "one" is a pronoun that the British have decided is overly formal, but it's a third-person pronoun. Us proles get out of using it by saying the word "you" instead. Not "I". So the joke doesn't even work. And yet people continue to be tickled by it. Mystifying. Oh, knack off.


June 5th

Falling: "News that can't yet be announced"

Twitter tends to give us an artificially inflated sense of our own importance. The fact that we blast mini-brainfarts into the ether and people occasionally deign to reply DOES tend to give the impression that those people care deeply about the trajectory of our existence. But in the most part, they don’t. They’re just momentarily distracted by it. Good news might be welcomed, sure. But if you tell people that there will shortly be news, but you can’t tell them what it is, that’s beyond uninteresting. It’s like telling people that you’re wearing socks. But the person who tweets about their socks isn’t expecting anyone to gasp in amazement, or ask them what colour they are, or to send telegrams of congratulation. The people below, however, want your attention, right now, even though they haven’t got anything to tell you. Even people who I like do it. In fact, someone I like did it yesterday. I was appalled. And you’d be appalled, too, if I embedded the tweets. But I can’t tell you who it is yet.


June 3rd

Rising: "Boy band members"

The power wielded on social media by members of boy bands is colossal. Followed by hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of unquestioningly obedient fans, just one solitary pop muppet with access to a smartphone could EASILY get creosote trending by lunchtime. If a creosote manufacturer were to sling a few free tins of creosote in their direction it might even happen. If, like me, you're an incredibly sophisticated, left-leaning, documentary-watching, high-horse-straddling, quinoa-munching prat, it's very easy to think of Twitter as being defined by endless debates about intersectionality, bathroom suites and Bat For Lashes, because that's what all our mates bang on about. But in fact, if Twitter's about anything, it's about teenage girls begging the poor saps who operate the Twitter accounts of boy band members to wish them a happy birthday.

Now, at the moment I can see that #shhhh is trending. I immediately assumed that this was because everyone's attempting to draw a veil of secrecy over the names of the two adulterers whose affair could land David Cameron in a vat of boiling prosecco, but that's because I live in some vile London media bubble. In fact, it's trending because Tom out of The Wanted demanded it.

I've been wishing harder than you can imagine that Tom from The Wanted is actually launching a range of clothes lines, shortly to expand into clothes horses, but sadly it appears to be a fashion label. Ah well. Apparently these garments are available to buy worldwide:

His fans have, somewhat predictably, gone mental over this news:


June 4th

Rising: @pigsatwork

Sexists may be delighted to hear that today is a great day for fans of sexism. Currently riding high in Twitter's trending list is #mygirlfriendnotallowedto, a hashtag populated almost entirely by tweets from blokes whose idea of a relationship is to implement a vicious regime of power and control, where women's movements and behaviour are restricted, North Korea style, with any expression of free will crushed with an iron fist, an iron fist of colossal insecurity and fear. I can barely bring myself to embed these examples, but here you go, just for illustrative purposes: And of course the whole thing is moving into the realms of satire, but is it funny? Let's ask Cath Janes: Well, indeed. Of course, if you're on Twitter and you wish to be reminded of the kind of behaviour women have to put up with, you need go no further than @EverydaySexism (which is currently fundraising.) It does a remarkable job, but it's relentless. I had to guiltily unfollow a while back because it was making me massively depressed. Meanwhile, @pigsatwork is a new account (6 followers at time of writing) which catalogues the sexist utterances of five men (V, W, X, Y and Z) in one office building. For some reason I found this an even more powerful illustration of sexism than @EverydaySexism, perhaps because a) it's the experience of just one person, and b) it highlights the kind of bullshit that men say to each other all the time – the kind where if you pulled them up on it they'd say "What? What's the matter? What's wrong with that?" Men. For crying out loud.



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