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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 30th

Falling: "Wow just wow"

With Twitter still reverberating to the sound of rape threats and the valiant fight back from the blameless women under siege, it feels slightly weird to post something about Twitter etiquette. It's a bit like being a newsreader doing an "and finally" story about otters holding hands after nuclear bombs have just detonated over Hertfordshire. But normality, if there is such a thing, will surely prevail across Twitter, and we can at some point go back to concentrating on more frivolous issues, such as thousands of people saying "wow just wow". It's a curious exclamation. If you analyse it like a mathematical equation – as I like to do with everything from roller skating to kiwi fruit – you realise that "just wow" cancels itself out. "Wow, just wow" effectively means "Wow". As soon as you've reached the "just" bit of "wow just wow", you've ruined the just-wow perfection of your original "wow". It's tautologous. It's a tautologous wow. "Wow just wow" – which, as far as I can tell, is almost exclusively a Twitter phenomenon – is also frequently deployed in another classic Twitter construction: the retweet with added spurious commentary: There's nothing not "wow just wow" about trains colliding or landslides engulfing people. Wow is implicit. Extra wow adds no value. If you found trains colliding or landslides engulfing people a bit dull you might be excused for tacking on "yawn" – although of course that would make you a total freak. The same applies to wow alternatives, such as these: Blimey.

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