Deconstructing Twitter

I love Twitter. It makes me laugh several times a day (at least), and it regularly exposes me things that I would otherwise have missed; worthy causes, nice people, cute animal pictures. It’s also annoyed the fuck out of me at times lately, almost like some people have run out of things to say.

It’s fairly common for breaking news to get posted, followed sort of discussion, then, depending on the nature of the news, the jokes often follow – that’s great; it’s why I found Twitter so enjoyable for a good while. Now, though, it’s starting to feel a little tired and predictable, like an old sitcom that starts repeating old jokes.

Take the recent news surrounding Andy Gray and Richard Keys, the Sky Sports cavemen recently sacked for being sexist fuckwits. It was via Twitter that I initially found out that Andy Gray had been fired; it got posted several times by a few different people – a little annoying, but fairly unavoidable and expected with big news – the usual discussion followed; rumours about Richard Keys being fired next, speculation about why Andy Gray was fired and not just warned/fined, leaked videos of Andy Gray being sexist. You get the idea.

Then the jokes started. Yay! About three of four half-decent jokes later, they continued…for about twelve, long hours. The vast majority of these jokes were variations of ones posted hours earlier, some were just predictable and shit, some just didn’t work – there were, of course, a few brilliant ones. I know, I know- we don’t all have the same sense of humour, and the people you follow reflect what appears in your timeline, so it’s a bit rich to complain about it, right? Absolutely, but my problem isn’t that Twitter isn’t funny anymore, it’s more that it feels like everyone is always trying to be funny.

There was a turning point a while back where people were clearly getting annoyed by this and the jokes about the jokes started, and, again, that’s fine- it’s made me laugh on plenty of occasions and often still does. But I’m often terrified of checking Twitter when something newsworthy (jokeworthy?) has happened, for fear of my timeline being rammed full of jokes about said incident, while every other tweet is a joke or comment about how everyone is talking about the very same incident. Brilliant – you’ve got nothing to say on the subject, so you’re going to just mention that there is an incident, or make a joke about people talking about the incident. Don’t even get me started on The Apprentice or X Factor.

Lately, there’s been a few tweets in protest at this, where the content was essentially, “SUBJECT A, SUBJECT B, SUBJECT C #joke”. It made me laugh when I first saw someone make it – a list of subjects almost all of Twitter is moaning/joking about, and a hashtag saying “joke” – it was mocking everyone on Twitter for doing the same thing at the same time, and, as Homer Simspon would say, it was funny because it was true. This joke becomes somewhat less funny, however, when several different people post very similar jokes with the very same idea – that’s lots of people mocking people on Twitter for doing what everyone else is doing. Gah! Enough! We don’t need that many levels of deconstruction. Ever.

Still, despite this entry coming across like Twitter has pissed me off somewhat lately, it’s not quite to the extreme it appears. I still love it, I just try not to read it as much. Also, I’m guilty of doing half the things I’ve complained about above, and I doubt that will change in the future. I’m also very aware of the fact that what happens on Twitter is dictated by the people you follow, and if they’re pissing you off, you should maybe follow someone else; I don’t think the people I follow are pissing me off, I think Twitter does; I can only handle so much BRILLIANT SATIRE before I want to kill you all*.

* I’m not going to kill anyone. I am Spartacus and all that.

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