Palmed Off

<i>Illustration: Andrew Dyson.</i>

Illustration: Andrew Dyson.

I don’t care about your new haircut, I don’t care what you ate for dinner or with whom, and I certainly don’t care for the inspirational quote of the day you have copied and pasted from your iPhone app.

But, this does not seem to be common opinion. Maybe I am behind the times.

If you follow many sporting personalities on twitter you subject yourself to this rubbish on a daily basis.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that there are people like David Pocock for example who promote extremely worthy causes and use the direct access to the public to great benefit, and do genuine good with the status and resources they are fortunate to have as professional athletes. 

Let me make it clear that these are not the people I am referring to.

It seems to me that the majority of personalities who engage in this form of social media aren’t in David’s boat, and use it as a vehicle to further inflate their own tyres and continue to perpetuate what is already an extremely self-indulgent profession.

If you are over the age of 10 and you have an invisible friend - let's be honest - you tend to pay a social price. 

Yet, many of these social media nobodies have over 100,000 so-called friends and no one seems to bat an eyelid.

One of the great benefits of having imaginary friends is that for the most part, they are free. There is no need to buy gifts for pseudo-friends - you don’t even need to feed them. They are essentially, free of charge.

I have recently learnt that this is sometimes not the case. Apparently it is not uncommon for Tweeters to purchase followers. You can buy yourself 100,000 imaginary friends for around $500, or if you want to be really popular you could get yourself 1 million friends for around $4000! What a bargain!

Direct access to personalities from all walks of life is without doubt enticing.

I do wonder, however, what state we are living in when a chubby nullity like Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, a reality TV personality in the U.S, attracts over 6.2m followers, yet great thinkers of our time and genuine contributors to society like Lawrence Krauss, or even Christopher Hitchens in his day, would not reach capacity at Canberra Stadium with their number of followers worldwide.

To me this is bizarre.

‘Snooki’ has recently enlightened 6.2m people around the world that she ‘hates sleeping on planes’ and that ‘when she yawns, it feels like she is a lion roaring’.

This knowledge must put everyone’s mind at rest. I for one will sleep better knowing this.

Looking at this whole Twitter thing, the big winner in my opinion is probably the ‘hash’.

Pre-twitter, the hash was simply a button on a phone. Not anymore - the hashtag is now the glue that connects people the world over.

No one can argue that Twitter has certainly increased the status of egotistical and insecure people, but even with all its faults, it has also undoubtedly increased the standing of what was, for a long time, nothing more than a useless button on a telephone.