Posted by: Ciaran | October 27, 2009

The Wacky Races

We’re all a bunch of Twits.  I know I am.  You probably are too.  Everyone’s at it.  Twitter has made life into a big stream of consciousness as well as an aggregator of news and opinion.

Take Saturday night, for instance.  I sat at my desk, only braving the living room where the X Factor  was blaring when my throat compelled me to make another cup of tea.  I only actively sought it out when I went to watch the terrible twosome, John and Edward.

But really, I needn’t have bothered.  I watched the whole show by proxy with everyone from Charlie Brooker to someone in the same block of flats as me letting me know exactly what was going on through TweetDeck.  I found myself tweeting about Miss Frank facing Danyl in the sing-off, despite the fact that I hadn’t even heard most of the night’s performances. 

I had become part of the conversation despite not really having any right to; and my, what a conversation it was.  Over at Twitterfall I watched as the tweets with #xfactor and #jedward bounced down the page, and I realised that we were all in a big race.  Everyone was trying to get their 140 characters out there as quickly as possible, tweeting with such alacrity that it was almost impossible to believe that they were actually watching the show at all.

Tweeters all wanted to be first with the news of who was good, who was bad, who wore what, said what, did what, sang what and so on for ever and ever and ever until someone finally left the show a full 23 hours later, when the process was repeated.  And in much the same way as X Factor contestants are graded, we ourselves are being aligned into league tables based on our social media habits.

An excellent lecture from Dr Claire Wardle (of the BBC College of Journalism) given at Cardiff University last week uncovered for me, amongst other things, Twitter Grader.  Put your username into the site and it will tell you your position in the World Twitter Hyper Mega League.  I, apparently, rank at 762,457 out of over five million users, giving me a ‘grade’ of 86 out of 100. 

I don’t know quite what it means.  I expect I’ll find out when I’m called to a tweet-off in front of the online judges.

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