A little while ago, the erudite blogger Richard H Cooper posted a brilliant piece on twitter feudalism. If you haven’t seen it then I highly recommend it, here’s a link. It rang a few bells about my own experiences on twitter, particularly as I followed two of the protagonists in Richard’s piece. The negative aspects of twitter that Richard highlights so well are offset by its good side, which is the ability to provide positive feedback to people with whom you would otherwise not communicate. I have been experiencing this good side with feedback about my novel and have knocked up a page to celebrate that (you can find it here), I hope it doesn’t come across as bragging, it’s absolutely not meant to be.
But below is a piece I wrote for my old website. Apologies if you’ve read it before but only about five of you will have. It touches upon some issues raised by Richard (although I stress that my brief piece is not in the same league) and also shows an example of the positive side of twitter, with the actor Daniel Kaluuya as an example. It’s strange to now be lucky enough to see (to a much more limited extent) how Daniel must have felt at the time.
Here it is:
A Tale of Two Twitters (published 13th. December 2011)
In the past I’ve always poured scorn on Twitter, thinking that it was just people sending pointless drivel back and forth about what they were eating, what gig they were attending etc. But I’m happy to be wrong about that. If you follow the right people you can find out a range of funny, interesting, moving and informative stuff. It allows people to become aware of things that they wouldn’t otherwise have known about, and it allows an interaction between people who otherwise would never meet.
So I’ve been using it regularly for the last few weeks. Today I saw the good and the bad in twitter and I thought I’d share:
I follow Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) and he’s justifiably proud of his show, Black Mirror so he’s tweeted pretty frequently about it; giving us links to the songs used as well as the twitter names of the actors. I was particularly impressed by Daniel Kaluuya in 15 Million Merits, so I tweeted him to tell him so. I obviously wasn’t the only one, because this morning he tweeted the following:
“The love I’ve received for Black Mirror has been flippin overwhelming…like…woah. Thank You, God Bless you all for watching. Merry Xmas.”
Okay, so it’s not changing the world, but I thought it was quite heart warming that a young actor can get positive feedback immediately after the broadcast, and then be able to sincerely thank his appreciate audience. Yes I’m a soppy get but I thought it was quite nice. You want to make something of it?
Now on to the bad:
The actor Simon Pegg has nearly 2 million followers. Today, someone tweeted the following:
“For some reason @simonpegg really really annoys me, hot fuzz is good though! He’s on my list, and it ain’t a good list! #annoying.”
It’s not the most pleasant thing to say, and perhaps he shouldn’t have said it, but it’s not particularly offensive either, and it’s certainly not going to have any negative impact on the life or career of a very successful and wealthy actor. Here was Hollywood star, Simon Pegg’s response (to his nearly 2 million followers, mind):
“If you’re going to bitch about me, at least have the decency to do it behind my back @usernameremoved. Can y’all flame this dick-twitch.”
For those not in the know, ‘flame’ means to send offensive and threatening messages.
And what happened? Surprise surprise, the bloke who had the audacity to state that he found Simon Pegg ‘annoying’ was indundated with offensive and threatening messages from Pegg’s legion of followers. Pegg’s response later was to make a joke of the whole thing, as if it was just a bit of fun. But it wasn’t; he literally set his followers on the guy!
And worse, is that some (not all) of Simon Pegg’s followers thought nothing of doing their master’s bidding without question. He-is-famous-so-we-must-do-what-he-says. For want of a better phrase, what’s all that about?
So critics beware, give Simon Pegg a bad review and he might send some heavies round to break your legs.
And Daniel Kaluuya, you deserve all the plaudits!