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The race for Twitter glory

2013-04-09 13:48
As bound as I am to my Twitter and Facebook feeds, and as immersed as I am in my other life online, I sometimes believe social media platforms is the worst thing to have happened to 21st century humanity.

Yesterday was marked by the news that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a woman who during her time in office, proved hugely unpopular with her people due to her hardline approach to, as she put it, getting the job done.

While I won't venture into getting into Thatcher's politics or here, I must share how taken aback I was by the jokes and jabs the news of her death generated within minutes of the news breaking.

Most of these snarky reactions seemed to feature Meryl Streep, who won her third Oscar for portraying Thatcher in The Iron Lady last year and a strange but amusing trending topic #nowthatcherisdead which, if you read it in a particular way, gave the impression that Cher had passed away.

In death, as in her life, Thatcher has been equally praised and reviled on Twitter these past 24 hours and supporters of both views will find something to agree with, but it's the speed with which we are now able to make light and unequivocal judgements of genuinely Big Issues that both excites and scares me a bit.

This was also evident in Big Concerts teasing reveal over the weekend that Rihanna would be touring South Africa for two stadium tours later this year. Before the news became official on Monday morning, many fans of Beyonce, P!nk and Madonna lived in hope that their pop heroine was headed for our shores.

And then it was all pretty much put to bed when heat magazine appeared to break the embargo on the news by tweeting on Friday already that it was indeed Rihanna. So by the time Gareth Cliff made the announcement on his 5FM show, the worst-kept secret in SA was revealed for what it was. It was a bit like Dorothy pulling back the curtain and seeing the Wizard of Oz for herself.

So while Big Concerts do all they can to make these kinds of announcements a bit more fun – and extract some media coverage from the whole game – most fans and followers would rather have what they want right here, right now. And, in the Twitter age, no matter how legitimate or factual a bit of information is (or is not) whoever is first gets the glory.

And the 'Look at me!' generation have never had a better platform than on Twitter, Facebook – and even the humble comments section – to be champions of the spoiler alert reveal, the quick quip and the dreaded 'First!' comment. Winners of what, precisely, will always be a mystery to me.

Sometimes I think I'm still just a pager lost in a world of apps and push notifications but is it too late to ask that we slow down a bit? Or at least pretend that we're, essentially, engaging with our fellow human beings?

Or am I just deluded? E-mail us at Channel24 and have your say!


Local is very lekker!

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