First published on Brand Republic - 4 Aug 2011
In my post of 23 May, I wrote ‘Does Twitter set the news agenda or does the news agenda follow Twitter?’. This question is even more apposite today.
As I have discovered myself as @TheSalmonAgency, Twitter crosses the absolute extremes from the most serious to the extremely silly. This is what makes Twitter both important and fun.
This week, right across the media, in all the newspapers, on TV and the radio has been the story of Charlie Gilmour whose mum, novelist Polly Samson ‘has taken to Twitter to reveal details of her son’s incarceration’. I have some sympathy with her position, about which she feels very strongly and to which she has given much thought (and feeling).
There is also the kidnap threat to Duncan Bannatyne’s daughter which is clearly very serious indeed. It will be interesting to see if they track the Tweeter down. Some people, who think they have been tweeting anonymously, will be worried if they do.
On the other hand, the media has amused us by the much more spontaneous little spats between Piers Morgan and Jon Snow, Lord Sugar and Kirsty Allsopp, George Michael and Jeremy Clarkson, Rory McIroy and BBC golf commentator Jay Townsend – all of which have hit the headlines.
I started wondering if these ‘celebrities’ (a sub-species who, in my experience, are trained to flatter each other and, strangely, invite each other to their weddings when they have never met) would have allowed these lively tiffs to have occurred if they had given their tweets a second thought.
Put this together with the more serious issues raised in my more serious earlier post, and I began thinking of the benefit of Twitter introducing a pop-up before every tweet along the lines of:
Are you sure you want to send this tweet?
– do you mean what you have said?
– is it offensive?
– is it defamatory?
Are you aware you could be breaking the law?
This thought was drifting round my head as I started reading One Day by David Nicholls (good book). It is about the developing relationship of two characters, Emma and Dexter (bad name).
In Chapter Two, Em is writing a letter to Dexter (this is 1989). She asks herself:
“how to sign off? ‘All the best’ was too formal, ‘tout mon amour’ too affected, ‘all my love’ too corny… and (so) quickly, before she could change her mind, she wrote –
God I miss you, Dex
– then her signature and a single kiss scratched deep into the pale blue air mail paper”.
So spontaneity can be exciting, erotic even.
Spontaneity is refreshingly unplanned.
But be careful.
Spontaneity could get you into trouble.