How Twitter changed the world…

It appeared insidiously.


No-one took it seriously at first. In fact there are still TV presenters who say its name with a sneer and make rubbish jokes about twits tweeting and there are still national newspapers that are sniffy about its power scared of its growing influence and yet there it is, Twitter- saying what it wants when it wants and causing all kinds of havoc.

Once it was Friends United, then it was MySpace and then it was Facebook and now it’s Twitter- the ultimate reflection of our times. Times when every opinion and idea can be reduced to 140 words.


Initially it was dismissed as a place to gossip, a low rent version of Facebook for idiots who would ‘tell you what they were having for tea’ according to TV comics brushing it aside as a fluffy chat room for imbeciles.


But then something interesting started to happen. People started to use it for loads of other stuff like a weird rolling news organisation where a truth could be sieved out from the ranting. Journalists got angry saying that they were the true gate keepers and how dare people tell their own truth and of course they could have been right about some of this but they forgot their own truth was being filtered by their editors.


In the 21st century it’s all got very confusing, especially when Twitter started to make the news instead of reflecting it. They said rioters were using twitter and the Arab Spring was driven by it and in the mean time all manner of twitter storms were telling off the media or ganging up on politicians.

The role of twitter in the last five years has been key and in the last twelve months it has accelerated to become the frontline of the Internet where all manner of loose pub talk is mixed up with genuine points and ideas. This is a good bad thing all at the same time- very fractured, Wild West 21st century! In the last few months people have been fined for libel on twitter as the law finally caught up with this maelstrom of gossip and ideas and truths.

In the last week twitter has been everywhere with the post Savile fallout that has thrown the media into total crisis with the mainstream press unsure where to turn and the BBC on its knees without even mentioning the names that its in trouble for…nope the names were mentioned all over twitter which seems to be everywhere all at once and far ahead of the mainstream media which is now trapped like a lumbering dinosaur unsure where to go.


With people threatening to sue in the post Savile world, the mainstream media can say nothing and yet twitter still rages with names, half truths and occasional gems. God knows what’s going on out there. Twitter matches the confusing rush of the modern times and is perfectly out of control ina time when everything is very controlled.

These are the twitter times, it’s the Wild West, an anarchist paradise and currently beyond the law…good or bad it’s like what Chairman Mao asked about the affect of the French Revoltion and replied, ‘It’s too early to tell…’ Which was not only very wise but a perfect short Tweet!


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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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