Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Power of Twitter

Ah, Twitter. Ever-reliable Twitter. You can always count on the loveable, massively popular bird-themed social network to distract you, especially when you have something due in presently (as does your truly; ssh if we won't mention it again, it might go away). You may even tweet solely about twitter distracting you - perhaps the most ludicrously way of time-wasting which I hope I haven't sunk to yet. Social networks are a drug. And I - as are so many - am addicted.

It's terrible to admit but it is true. Thankfully, I'm not as bad as some people who, largely self-confessed which is good, check twitter and tweet with much more ferocity than I do. Columnist Andrew Collins thought it was for 'stalkers, narcissists and people who talk to themselves'. I'd like to think I'm none of the above but, you never know, I may be all three.

However, despite its perhaps sole purpose as a distraction machine, I love it. It strangely satisfying when you clip your thoughts down into a (hopefully) witty nugget of 140 characters. Plus, celebrities have it so it's a good way to see what they're up to. And, occasionally, you may even get a tweet back from them. I once get a reply from Mark Gatiss when I asked him a question about his Who episode (more words than I said to him in person, in fact) while my sister recently was tweeted by Russell Tovey.
However, despite its witty chatty appearance, Twitter and other social networks -it's not alone in this - have a dark side...

As brilliantly shown in Charlie Brooker's recent opener to his new Black Mirror series (a Twilight Zone inspired anthology series), Twitter - or more accurately the collective thoughts of the mass of people who use it - can control what happens in the 'real' world. In the aforementioned episode 'The National Anthem', a popular royal princess is kidnapped and the ransom states the Prime Minister (a clear Cameron pastiche but well-played by Rory Kinnear) must... do something thoroughly abhorrent and embarrasing on live TV for the princess' safe return. Whether or not he goes through with it is largley based on how people are reacting to it on Twitter and other such sites, due to the government's constant reliance on public opinion. I'm deliberatly witholding details from you as if you ever get round to watching it I have no intention to spoil the surprise. If you are interested you can watch it here.

Of course, at this moment in time Twitter isn't distracting me from my work but Blogger is. Yet I didn't blame it. Cue Twilight Zone music.

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