Sunday, 19 February 2012

Pissing in the Wind

Remember the good old days of the internet. Waiting for about 40 seconds for your PC to make play some low rent techno music whilst a little diagram told you were about to be connected to the rest of the world. You knew your parents were expecting a call later, so you couldn’t be on for long. The anticipation grew as, very, very slowly an explosion of primary colours emerged on your screen; like someone pouring several bottles of paint through the top of your monitor. You were suddenly connected to everyone else in the world (well, the rich parts of it). You had almost unlimited power (as long as you were off by 6pm, as your gran is going to call then). You were on THE INTERNET.

One problem. There was fuck all on it.

There were millions of shoddy, garish and ghoulish pages about stuff no-one really cared about. Geocities? AOL? Lycos? Jeeves never really answered any of my questions. Images took about 3 minutes to load; the idea of illegally downloading music was laughable, unless you were the kind of person who had unlimited free time and no friends wanting to ring you. Coincidentally, computer nerds ticked all those boxes; but just had no interest in music beyond the bleepy horror of games such as ‘BLUDGORR FOUR’.

Fast forward to the now, and all has changed. The internet is slick, fast, easily accessible and no longer prevents double glazing firms from cold calling you. Youtube lets you view the creative efforts of billions of cats and tone-deaf idiots singing. Facebook lets you people you have absolutely no interest in post up photos of their disgusting, inedible, grey piles of organic material that they like to name ‘NOMNOMNOM’. Why should that impress me? You’ve managed to feed yourself; well done. You’ve attained a level of self-sufficiency that rocks can only dream of. But the biggest, most bemusing and confusing webviathan of the past few years is Twitter.

'YUMMY TEA I MAID AL MISELF NOMNOMNOM'

Twitter shouldn’t work. Ever. It is the equivalent of listening to strangers shouting out loud in public. Whoever shouts interesting, thought provoking, humorous and profound statements will be overshadowed by a person famous for being an idiot, telling the entirety of human civilisation that they are ‘WELL UP 4 A NANDOS #ILOVECHICKEN’. My favourite analogy for twitter is to imagine you are stood on a hill, pissing into the wind. Only if you’re famous, will people want to be spattered by your urine. 140 characters is just enough to dig your own grave, as many users have discovered at their peril.

For some of the inhabitants of twitter (and others who use and abuse the internet); the laws of reality do not extend into the virtual world. This is the wild west, the final frontier, the ultimate clich├ęd metaphor. Fancy sending some abuse to a person you’ve never met? Twitter is the ultimate outlet. Want to tell a footballer he should ‘Fuck Off And Die’? Tweet it. Inform a politician that they are ‘Scum. Subhuman scum’? Tweet away. However, bear in mind that the authority of the police doesn’t end at your keyboard and ‘It was just banter, innit’ won’t stand up in court.

Twitter trends also expose the very worst in humanity, regularly, at scales varying from individual cities to the globe. The sheer number of trends that spring up simply celebrating a clutch of three or four pop acts; controlled entirely by a cohort of tweenagers who are the real-life embodiment of the child-spies from Nineteen-Eighty-Four. Repeating propaganda phrases that further the cause of really, really annoying the hell out of normal people. If the members of One Direction were to begin instructing their mini-minions to begin stockpiling weaponry, I’d be the first to start digging a fallout shelter. And even, even if a trend begins that has *nothing* to do with The Wanted, Bieber, or whoever has clawed their way into the public consciousness from the vast pond of bilge that is commercial radio; in about 4 minutes, it will either be hijacked by the fans of one of those acts, or replaced by ‘#OneDirectioneersLoveOneDirectionInLotsOfDirections’, or something as equally vile.

But, twitter is brilliant. I love it. I can chat utter rubbish, and no-one has to listen. No-one really cares about my thoughts on Steve Cotterill’s awful reign as Forest manager; but the point is no-one has to care. If they do, then that’s even more brilliant. Do I want to know what Person X or Y says? I don’t know. But I better keep on following them in case they maybe one day reply to me. Or even better, gives me a retweet. It gives everyone the grand delusion that, at some level, we might actually be important in the scheme of things.  Twitter can elevate anyone to any level of fame or infamy; as easily as it can hurl them back down; the thrill is in the ride. Your day of twitter fame could never come, but it might, just might, emerge.

Can I have a RT please?

No comments:

Post a Comment