Therapeutic Shredding
Friday Ephemera

The Final Outrage

In other Earth-rumbling news,

Twitter is struggling. Its disappointing financial results, mass layoffs and declining user experience show things aren’t well for the little blue bird. And now this: the replacement of the beloved “fav” star with a heart.

Dark days.

The hearts are the final straw: it’s time to nationalise Twitter.

Yes, it’s the Guardian. How did you guess? Specifically, the musings of Mr Osman Faruqi, a “Sydney-based writer and activist” who wants someone else – apparently, taxpayers on the other side of the world – to pay for his leisure activities.   

It’s infrastructure for basic communication, which is why people are so upset over the change to hearts: imagine if, instead of saying “OK” on the phone to a relative stranger, you were forced to say “I love you.” It’s that basic.

Such are the horrors facing today’s Twitter user. It’s New Coke all over again.

So how do you monetise an intangible combination of excitement and trepidation sparked by the overwhelming awe of talking to the whole world?

Or perhaps more likely, a vanishingly tiny part of it. With almost half of “users” having never sent a Tweet, and the overwhelming majority of those who have boasting fewer than 200 followers, with the majority of their tweets, around 70%, attracting no acknowledgment whatsoever. However, the stakes are high and according to Mr Faruqi, “casual social interaction,” which is good, is “anathema to the desire for profit,” which is bad, obviously. This is, after all, the Guardian. And as Twitter’s modishness is, it seems, fading, it therefore must be nationalised and paid for by the taxpayer. To keep it hip and happening, and to prevent more icon changes. Until the next thing comes along. And then, presumably, we must nationalise that too.

On Twitter, Mr Faruqi is currently struggling with the news that many readers had assumed his article was “taking the piss.” Apparently, this failure to appreciate his seriousness and insight merely “shows how right-wing our political debate has become.” 

Update, via the comments:

Oh dear. Events have taken a slightly surreal turn. Mr Faruqi now seems convinced that the So.Much.Guardian Tumblr is a “parody,” intended to bring the national organ of the British left into disrepute.

The sweetest irony.

The Tumblr in question does in fact use untouched screengrabs of actual Guardian headlinesThat’s sort of the point.

Update 2

Mr Faruqi’s response to the near-universal drubbing of his article is, I think, significant. From what I can see, there’s no pause to reflect on his numerous errors and conceits, or what they imply, despite how many times they were pointed out to him, and no attempt to engage with any of his critics, at all, about any point they raise. Instead, there’s just an air of glib superiority. He doesn’t see his idea as absurd, or arrogant, or even impractical. He just says, “People are so not used to discussing things outside a very narrow frame.”   

Yes, of course. We don’t deserve his brilliance.