When Obama tweeted a picture of himself and MIchelle hugging, adding the caption “Four More Years”, it became the most retweeted thing in history. I suppose, if nothing else, it shows how important the US election was to all of us non-Americans.
The result prompted me to write something on Twitter myself. The thought amused for enough seconds to quickly Google my facts, and to actually type it up in less than 140 characters. With that, I clicked Tweet and went and did something else. This is what I wrote:
Romney spent $800m+ to not be President. I spent nothing for the same result. Who’s the better business man now? #Dunn2016
— Simon Dunn (@sighdone) November 7, 2012
Now, I’m not sure it’s anything more than smile-worthy, and I thought it would be roundly ignored like most of my other tweets.
But when I came back to Twitter, I found that my timeline had exploded. I had notifications that it was trending in various countries and that it was top tweet on Favstar (whatever that is). It was getting retweeted a dozen times a minute (and still is). On top of that, people were doing it the old school way, by pasting the original tweet into a new one and prefixing an RT. Every time someone does this, it pops up on your timeline. This meant that I was seeing my own joke repeated back to me thousands and thousands of times. It was like living with a sarcastic toddler.
And it made me deconstruct what I’d written as a throwaway line the way I would a joke in a script. It doesn’t even make that much sense. And the point I was making about buying a win, or even the more vague one about the futility of comparing business success to political acumen or economic prowess, or the not so biting satirical point about the cost of elections was barely evident.
But yet it still kept getting retweeted. My timeline became impossible to follow, and it made me realise, to some small extent, what people who have hundreds of thousands of followers have to contend with every minute. Before I could read an @mention, it had disappeared down the page. And I was seeing about one percent of what they see. So, if you tweet Stephen Fry, he’s not ignoring you, it’s just that he hasn’t had a chance to see it. Then the @sickipediabot took it, and repeated it without acknowledgement.
What started as flattering, quickly became dizzying, and soon got tiring. I don’t envy people with huge numbers of followers any more.
The majority of replies I saw, aside from ‘LOL’, were pointing out that it wasn’t actually his OWN money (which I never claimed it was), and that actually made him a BRILLIANT business man. I’m fairly sure that makes even less sense than my original point.
A few others pointed out that Obama spent the same amount.
But the best response was: Don’t be an ass. At least he gave it a shot.
Quite right. I should be applauding a rich white guy with a sense of entitlement for abandoning every political belief he ever held, all in the pursuit of office and a lower rate of corporation tax.
But here’s the kicker. The ONE thing no-one noticed. I’m not even a business man.