Contrary to my previous post, this blog will also be used for general comment/blog-esque posts.
The sporting headlines over the past two weeks have been dominated by Manchester United's Ryan Giggs, who is attempting to sue Twitter for revealing a super injunction which kept a journalistic lid on an affair of his. Whilst a super injunction muzzles the megaphones of mainstream media, as Mr. Giggs has discovered the hard way, little can be done to mute the entire internet.
It seems strange that it took the opportunist modern world over twelve years to come up with the concept of Twitter. Twitter is the default place to go if a person, of any profile, decides they want to make a statement to the world. Before Twitter, where did we go to post a message to the world? Personal websites, blogs, emails and, errm... Myspace. With Twitter, we have an immediate port-of-call for every single person in the world who has an account (which is ever-increasing). I don't have to sniff through the earths of Google, in hope of finding the truffle I knew the scent of. Just as Google allows a user to search for information on any single thing, Twitter gives that 'any single thing' a mirror to beam out its message. Whilst higher profile users such as Stephen Fry and Britney Spears could already afford their own comprehensive websites for this, only a dedicated minority actually visit these sites. A 'follow' gives an immediate readership.
Not only does Twitter allow a user to search for any given person, it allows the user to search every single recent (public) tweet that contains a given term. As an example, after a gig on Monday night, I searched "Trail of Dead Newcastle" and was presented with a few tweets from other attendees. When a minor earthquake tremor shook the Lake District earlier in the year, I was also able to gain a rough idea of the sparsity by searching "earthquake Cumbria". I was duly presented with literally thousands of "Earthquake in Penrith", "Earthquake in Lancaster and Cumbria!" type tweets. Facebook limited me to just a handful of people within my vicinity and (due to being at 11pm), not even Sky News 24 could tell me anything for nearly an hour.
The functionality of one simple website cannot be underestimated. It is nothing short of ridiculous that such a concept was not thought of earlier. Whilst creative businesses and tech geeks alike have been furiously building businesses around an ever-decreasing number of website concepts, an idea as simple as "a space to make a statement" has trumped them all. Even Facebook at its globally dominating peak cannot measure up to the raw abstract power of Twitter. Even Facebook has tried to create a peripheral imitation (see: Facebook 'pages'). The concept of Twitter however, was inevitable. Where there is a demand for a tool, as humans we naturally pour our efforts into filling that demand. In an ideal world, this would be through nothing but goodwill to make the world a better place, but it's better that this is a subset of an economic opportunity than nothing at all. It's little wonder then, that such an emphasis was placed on Twitter even in its early years (pre-2009). The tool just needed to demonstrate its function to the market.
So Ryan, whilst your investment in that super injunction did spare the blushes for a while, the internet is a different animal capable of stripping your dignity like piranha their prey. To sue Twitter is nothing more than a desperate bid to save face. But you can't save face when the internet sells you a transparent mask.