I have to admit the recent news that Britain has just “gained” its 10 millionth Twitter user filled me with horror rather than happiness.
That makes more than 140 million Twitterers worldwide. Not bad considering that six years ago we all managed to survive perfectly well without it
You will have probably guessed that I’m not one of the Twittering masses. It’s not an inverse snobbery thing so much as having an already full life and a very geriatric mobile telephone which I see no reason to change until it – or me – doesn’t work any longer.
When I think of Twitter I’m reminded of two films – Zulu and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. With just a bit of the Emperor’s New Clothes thrown in for good measure.
In Zulu Michael Caine and a brave but heavily outnumbered band of troops do their best to fend off the inevitable hordes of, well zulus actually, swarm over them.
In the second film an invading alien force gradually takes over the earth’s population – swapping identikit mindless pods for what were once humans.
And as for those admirers of the emperor’s less than substantial new outfit we all know what happened there.
At some stage of the future it will become known as the Twitter effect. No one will be able to express themselves in terms longer than a Tweet – however long or short that may be. No one will have the ability to make a decision until Stephen Fry gives permission (more than four million “followers” and rising) and there won’t be pimple on Lady Gaga’s less than perfect body we don’t know more about than our own imperfections (in excess of 20 million followers which is more than the entire population of Australia).
I’ve watched in amazement as previously sensible people in my own office have fallen under its spell.
They even Tweet and follow each other whilst only yards apart which is probably not what Twitter founder Jack Dorsey had in mind when he came up with the idea for “a real-time up-to-date from the road service on a notepad.”
What, I wonder, did Jonathan Markwell, the 31 year old entrepreneur from Brighton do with his time before he became the site’s first British user on July 12, 2006.
More importantly who did the world’s first Twitter Tweet?
Not me, that’s for sure.