Articles in newspapers complaining about bloggers and twitter users seem to come along like bills from the taxman – at a rate of about 5 a week.
We have had the remarkable exhibit of Janet Street-Porter (or “Janet Self-Publicist”) complaining about “publicity seeking bloggers“, and more recently Rachel Sylvester starting a pop-psychology consultancy practice for sad and lonely individuals possessed by the Twitter demon.
Last Monday, Nicholas Lezard, the usually literate writer for the Guardian and the Independent, had what I would call a “Twit-Fit”, wibbling furiously for an entire 700 words against Twitter – here.
This is my commentary cum translation. A little light relief for a Sunday, and I hope that Paul Bradshaw doesn’t give me an ASBO.
So you’re eating lunch? Fascinating
(I only read boring Twitter accounts)
Stephen Fry … Twitter …
(faux introductory wibble … let’s set up the target)
I have nothing against Stephen Fry
(lots of my friends use Twitter, so I am not prejudiced … I have the right to quibble wibble)
but I CERTAINLY have something against Twitter
The name tells us straightaway
it’s inconsequential, background noise, a waste of time and space
(unintentionally self-revelatory wibble)
Actually, the name does a disservice to the sounds birds make, which are, for the birds, significant, and, for the humans, soothing and, if you’re Messiaen, inspirational
But Twitter? Inspirational?
(well, it isn’t when you can’t hear for your own ranting)
The online phenonemon is about humanity disappearing up it’s own fundament, or the air leaking out of the whole Enlightenment project
(I just managed to look over Nigel Molesworth‘s shoulder, and I cribbed a bit from his 2nd year philosophy test, Hem-Hem)
It makes blogging look like literature
(I have a whole quiverful of cookie-cutter stereotypes, and boy am I going to use them)
It’s anti-literature, the new opium of the masses
(Clickety-click! I taught Blue Peter how to prepare things earlier, and this one is from 1843)
It’s unreflective instantaneousness encourages neurotic behaviour in both the Tweeter and the Twatters
(Dear Damien Hirst, can I be your Press Officer ? )
Seriously, the Americans have proposed that “twatted” should be the past participle of “tweet”
(Obviously there are 300 million identical cardboard-cut-out idiots across the pond. Perhaps “stereotroped” should be the past participle of “stereotype”)
It encourages us in the delusion that our random thoughts, our banal experiences, are significant
(I want to be Alain de Botton when I grow up, Blankety-Blank)
It is masturbatory and infantile, and the amazing thing is that people can’t get enough of it – possibly because it IS masturbatory and infantile
(or ############, Yankety-Yank)
(redacted to avoid being sued by a certain award-winning journalist)
Oh God, that it should have come to this. Centuries of human thought and experience drowned out in a maelstrom of inconsequential rubbish.
(Does Andrew Keen or David Aaronovitch need a ghost-writer for when they are on holiday? )
Don’t tell me about Trafigura – one good deed is not enough
( don’t tell me about the hundreds of other achievements either; the last thing I need is facts – or reality – interfering with my opinions)
(My Rachel Sylvester piece includes a list of about 10 examples of how Twitter can be used positively that I compiled last March).
and an ordinary online campaign would have done the trick just as well
(bollocks …. no other online forum has anything like the permeability or reaction speed of Twitter)
It is like some horrible science-fiction prediction come to pass: it is not just that Twitter signals the end of nuanced, reflective, authoritative thought – it’s that no one seems to mind
(pleeeeeeeease … SOMEBODY … I’ll even write leaders for the Daily Mail)
And I suspect that it’s psychologically dangerous
( Was it Twitter that did for Gordon Brown?)
We have evolved over millions of years to learn not to bore other people with constant updates about what we’re doing,
(I didn’t consult my partner before writing this column)
and we’re throwing it all away
(which is what would have happened if I had consulted my partner)
Twitter encourages monstrous egomania, and the very fact that Fry used Twitter to announce that he was leaving Twitter shows his dependence on it.
(Unlike being an opinionated columnist, of course, Hem Hem)
He was never going to give it up. He’s addicted to it.
(And – finally – did I tell you that I am a self-qualified Doctor able to diagnose from afar)
I really have trouble understanding why some people just do not seem to appreciate the positive side of Twitter, although many of them seem to be general commentators inside the London media bubble.
I suspect that it could be that the main benefits of Twitter (and blogging) have made to make politics and media more permeable, and have made it possible for a far wider group of people to engage in the political debate without going through the media filter.
The point is that if you are inside the bubble and already get politicians reply to your emails in person because you work for an organisation they have heard of, then all of these seem to be unwelcome threats, rather than benefits or opportunities.
Bye-bye media bubble, I hope.