Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's Twitter Article Bingo!

Readers! Do you remember the old days, when you couldn't pick up a newspaper without seeing some columnist or other ranting about how bloggers are socially-maladroit saddos with empty lives, who do nothing but spout tedious drivel on tedious blogs which are read by no one but their mums?

(Then after a bit, the papers decided that blogging was actually the future of journalism, and immediately set about pretending they'd thought of it first.)

Well, pine no more for the days when we bloggers were daring, sexy outcasts, condemned by the establishment and forced to survive on our wits, cake and nice comments left by alluring strangers. For the papers are at it again, only this time they've got it in for Twitter.

You can barely pick up a newspaper these days without seeing some columnist or other ranting about how people who use Twitter are socially-maladroit saddos with empty lives, who do nothing but spout tedious drivel in tedious messages of 140 characters or fewer, which are read by no one at all, or at least no one who's remotely interested.

First, I wondered if this kind of pattern has actually been going on since Caveman Urgh berated Caveman Blurgh and Caveman Wurgh for making tedious cave paintings about their tedious little animal-chasing lives that no one except their mums was ever going to look at or be remotely interested in.

Then I thought that instead I would make it all a bit more fun by inventing a game of Twitter Article Bingo.

Next time you see some Janet Street-Porter type spouting off about Twitter in the national press, you can amuse yourself by seeing how many points you can score from this list:

Twitter Article Bingo

1. Article mentions the following individuals:

Stephen Fry (1 point) [add 1 if it mentions S. Fry getting stuck in lift]
Jonathan Ross (1 point)
Barack Obama (1 point)
Britney Spears (2 points)
Lily Allen (1 point)

2. Article contains the phrase '140 characters or less' in a manner that suggests that any message of this brevity must be devoid of merit (2 points) [1 point off for good behaviour if it says '140 characters or fewer'.]

3. Article hilariously refers to Twitterers as 'twits' (5 points)

4. Article says that the point of Twitter is to answer the question 'What are you doing?' in a manner that suggests that no answer to this question can possibly be in any way interesting or enlightening (2 points)

5. Article quotes an eminent psychologist making unfavourable pronouncements about the mental state of anyone who uses Twitter (5 points) [add an extra 5 points if it's obvious the psychologist in question has never been near Twitter and has no real idea what it is.]

6. Article suggests that the only reason people join Twitter is to 'follow' celebrities (3 points)

7. Article claims that no one on Twitter has anything interesting to say, not even Stephen Fry (2 points)

8. Article makes one or more attempts to coin hilarious new word by replacing the first letter of any existing word with 'tw' (one point per rubbish neologism)

9. Article concludes that Twitter is incontrovertible proof that entire world is going to dogs (5 points)

10. Writer of article appears unable to recognise that if Twitter really was that dull, they wouldn't be writing yet another big article about it (5 points)

NEXT WEEK: Janet Street-Porter hails Twitter as the future of journalism.

UPDATE: Good work, Hadley Freeman!


Billy said...

Here's a recent one.

It doesn't mention Britney Spears, but I think it ticks most of the other boxes.

patroclus said...

I think that's the very one I had in mind.

Swiv said...

I think I might twitter this. Does that count as meta-twittering?

Lisa Later said...

i think you missed a short-lived era in the evolution of online technology bashing: facebook

mr zuckerberg is probably sleeping easier these days, knowing that biz stone et al have taken up where he left off

might just have to goad some journo friends into writing some tosh so i can WIN BINGO


patroclus said...

Swiv: Meta-twittering, yes. Or probably tweta-twittering. Or twettering. *goes to lie down*

Lisa: Yes, well the thing there was that I heartily agreed with all those articles - I've always loathed Facebook. And it strikes me that the first time I wrote about Twitter, I was guilty of quite a few of the Twitter bingo things myself. Never let it be said that I am not an Enormous Hypocrite.

Annie said...

I am going to write you a love letter one of these days, Patroclus. In 140 characters or less, most likely.

Marsha Klein said...

Ha, ha! Point 10 made me laugh - ain't it the truth, though.

Tim Footman said...

Is someone who gets paid for writing bollocks about Twitter a twanet?

jill said...


Have I told you lately that I love you?

Matt said...

I finally succumbed to the call of Twitter this week. And within 24 hours I was being followed by Portsmouth's local paper. Probably in the hope that I'll do something newsworthy...which isn't likely....

Jed Bramwell said...

Woooooohooooo!!! I'm a bear who twitters

Andy Coote said...

I'll get back to you when my piece on Twitter is published in Rapport. Well, actually, it is on Social Media Marketing but it does mention Wossy and Stephen F. Oh yes, and i can't remember if I did the less or fewer thing - better check!

Same types of articles were written in the early days of the Railways - speeds of 40mph would crush the body etc. Have a vested interest in that as I'm on the train back to Cornwall later.


rockmother said...

Marvellous - I think I have to tweet this.

Karen's Mouth said...

As much as Twitter Article Bingo is a brilliantly conceived game, and I would dearly love to be able to play, sadly I can’t actually get to the end of such an article.

Re. Point 5 I saw that particular quote too. He should try joining up – most of his peers are on there all chatting away productively about really interesting sciencey things. He won’t be able to be in their gang now!

patroclus said...

Annie: Or fewer, maybe. Of course you could always send a DM and relish those 20 extra characters.

Marsha: I think 'losing your self-awareness' is a course module at all journalism schools.

Tim: It was until this morning, now it's a twadley.

Matt: You never know. Mysteriously I was followed by the Plymouth Herald for a couple of days, then they unfollowed me, no doubt due to the lack of Plymouth-related news I supplied, but minutes later I was being followed by the Bristol Evening Post. The temptation to make things up is great...

Jed: Gosh, so you are.

Andy: Remember to tweet from the train - tweeting from the train (or plane) is going to become the next media cliché, I can feel it. Will look out for your article!

RoMo: Cheers!

Karen's Mouth: It does seem to have escaped the attention of many sad old hacks (and their friends) that Twitter is populated by a lot of the cleverest people on the planet. But no, they still bang on about how it's wall-to-wall Lily Allen and Philip Schofield.

Tim Footman said...

Twadley's good. But I do like her. Good lips.

Didn't you know? Lily Allen has an IQ of 240. Must be true, I read it on Twitter.

Philip Schofield's a special needs case, though. But he can do toilet on his own without an accident now, 4 times out of 5.

Jayne said...

I think someone at The Guardian read this yesterday and wanted to win at Twitter Article Bingo. Poor Twadley.

patroclus said...

Tim: I forgot about Lily being the Wordsworth of her generation. But if you think Schofield's bad, you should read Andi Peters's tweets.

Jayne: Twadley's article reminds me of another one I should have included: 1. Article unfavourably compares Twitter content with classic Russian literature.

Boz said...


I think we should start taking the same approach journalists have to Twitter to, say, subeditors and see what happens.

"You mean you, have to use a Spellchecker!??? Who would do that..."

VW: clots! The argument for Blogger having a sentient intelligence goes up one point.

chuffy! said...

Hey. Subs and journos are still capable of coming up with the occasional decent headline/neologism.

Of course Andi Peters may have coined this first. But not Dostoevsky.

patroclus said...

I would never seek to denigrate the work done by subs. Only today I was admiring the headline 'Heston surfaces' on the front page of the Grauniad (before turning to the G2 and discovering our Twadley's attempt to win the grand bingo prize).

Anonymous said...

Could I request some points be awarded for mentions of Sean Coombs/Puff Daddy/P Diddy/Diddy/Done twittering about tantric sex?


Marsha Klein said...

"8:21am - "OK, I'm going to bake a cake"; "8:23am - Reading mary berrys cake book now"; "8:23 - A cheesecake? Maybe I'll bake 2"; "8:32 - Crunchy top lemon cake?" It's like Ulysses, albeit in shorter sentences.

Sounds like a considerable improvement on Ulysses to me (I managed to finish Mary Berry's Cake Book, but just couldn't get more than half way through Ulysses - not enough about cake.)