Friday, 8 January 2021

Tweeting better stories, episode one: December 2020

There’s been so much negativity on social media that I decided to look for alternatives – to the sledging, the aggro, the bile, the disaffection and endless rancour. It’s gotten so bad that we’ve neglected to remember what Twitter was like seven or eight years ago, at a time when we thought that it would help to change the world for the better. If anything the opposite is true. It’s like we’re only now seeing what we’re like for the first time. 

Twitter is a mirror we hold up to ourselves.

On 6 December at 7.37am I saw the following endearing tweet from someone looking for tips about shows to watch. “Goat division?” I thought to myself wistfully, trying to remember what it was like to watch Miyao Hayazaki films. I bought a whole set of them to watch with my children when they visited me in Queensland. That was in a different life. I’m a lot slimmer than I was then, and healthier (though older).

On 8 December at 8.27am I saw the following tweet about a new children’s toy. Children need to be able to dream – I remember dimly from my own experience (I was a child once) – but so do adults. The enduring relevance of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise reminds us – because we do need reminding, I think – that the things that bind us together are more powerful than the things that pull us apart.

On 10 December at 5.21am I saw this tweet which contained a new word – new for me, at least. “Headcanon” seems like a deliberately useful word, as though someone had said one day, “I need a new word to use in this context,” though I would’ve settled for “personal canon”. Maybe the French have a better term.

I initially saw this ridiculous tweet on 10 December at 6.26am and captured it. 

It makes me think about how, in the early days of social media (say, around 2009) the mainstream media commonly griped about it on account of such vacuous food-related tweets. 

Another commonplace whinge went along the lines of some guy in a dressing gown living in his mother’s basement. You know the routine. 

It turns out that that guy was you and that the food tweets were the best thing about Twitter.

On 14 December at 4.59am, this silly tweet about felines appeared in my feed. Another common bitch about social media in the old days was due to all the cat photos you could find there. We all like to see photos of cats and dogs, right? Well, JP evidently thinks so.

On 15 December at 3.52am, this tweet from a mainstream media outfit promoting a story on its website. In the story new graduates of Minnesota State University are sent a collection of special items on account of their graduation, including confetti. Perfect material for Tik Tok, I would’ve thought.

On 17 December at 3.23pm, I saw this Japanese tweet about a new drama in that country.

I asked someone I know in Japan what it said and she replied:
It is just an ad of drama series called Ossan’s Love.
You can watch them on Netflix from the first of Jan.
So, “sugar daddy.”
The drama called Ossan’s Love is that one senior guy who is about fifty years old falls in love with a fresh man at a company....
I particularly liked the drawing that came with the promo. It looks like a happy cat (can’t seem to get away from cats, already!).

On 31 December at 7.53pm, this tweet about a new Indian crime show on Netflix appeared in my feed. In fact, it was accompanied by the Netflix hashtag, and it caught my attention because of the generous spirit in which it was launched into the ether. 

Now the following is something that varies radically from my thesis. On 30 December at 6.48pm appeared this angry tweet from @theexwhogothot, who praised an Indian OTT service and objected to PC content on Netflix. Lighten up, buddy! Maybe you need some more stuffed Oreos to sweeten you up.

I thought it was symptomatic of the phenomenon I outlined earlier in this post that on the day I published it Donald Trump – the Orange Liability, as I always label him – was banned from at least one social media site indefinitely on account of the Washington, DC riots that engulfed the Capitol. Perhaps – I thought to myself, optimistically – we’ve gotten sick and tired of all the drama that’s daily confected by millions of ordinary people who are using these technologies for selfish purposes. Perhaps the tide has turned.

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