Twitter attack! Pop goes the serious news

  • Living
  • Sunday, 13 Sep 2015

Taylor Swift presents the Video Vanguard Award to Kanye West at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, August 30, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

A big complaint about social media is that despite it becoming a part of daily life, it’s kitsch, shallow and ultimately trivial. I try my best to avoid that kind of social media but over this past week, a bit of it seeped into my Twitter feed.

For most users, Twitter has been supplanted by things like Instagram and Snapchat as a friendship network but the original microblog platform still has a niche as a news service, delivering real time data.

Anyway, that’s what my Twitter account is mostly used for, that and for keeping up with the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team (which is doing terrific, thanks for asking!). So my feed is usually a bunch of tweets about real time news ... but it took on a decidedly pop feel a few days ago.

One of my younger friends who I follow was posting and reposting just about everything he could about the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA). Suddenly, my feed was all about Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj ... and Twitter took on a whole new form.

Instead of graphs from The Economist and headlines discussing the future economic reforms in Greece, there were videos posts from Taylor Swift and Haylee Steinfeld making faces, a picture of Justin Bieber crying for some reason and a GIF of Nicki calling out Miley.

Oh no, she didn’t! Miley said what in an interview and Nicki wouldn’t stand for it? Damn! I couldn’t help clicking the links to read all about this new beef. Miley versus Nicki ... the beef I never knew I wanted. How tasty would those burgers be?

Just when I thought things couldn’t get crazier, there came a flood of tweets informing me that Kanye West– otherwise known as Yeezy – was going to run for president of the United States in 2020! This was possibly the only thing that could take my mind off a Nicki and Miley grudge match in a pit of strawberry Jell-O (I mean, that’s really the only logical way to end their feud).

But President Yeezy did it for me. Think about it. Kanye West in the White House. A concept as frightening as it is hilarious and I owed it all to my young friend mindlessly retweeting every piece of Twitter detritus he could find on the VMA.

By this point, I was clicking on links to Selena Gomez and reading up on Kanye’s apology to Taylor Swift. I’m reading quotes about Kanye going off script and rubbing my hands together in anticipation of him doing the same thing in an address to the United Nations as president Yeezy. Then I’m thinking Kim Kardashian would be first lady and start salivating at the insanity of it all. The whole time I’m thinking “Please God, don’t let this happen but let it happen.”

Man, those tweets from the VMA caused a lot of conflicting emotions.

Then just as soon as it started, the tweets ended.

Did my friend’s head vaporise into a fine red mist because of entertainment news overload? Likely. And I realised I had spent the last hour delving headlong into backstories of teen heartthrobs no one over 35 has any business knowing about.

My Twitter feed went back to pie charts about unemployment in Spain, headlines discussing China’s air quality and analysis of the collective on base percentage of the second basemen on the Toronto Blue Jays.

Functional. Informational. Dull.

In an attempt to avoid all the kitsch of the Internet, I deprived myself of some of the best parts of social media. The ability to read and react in real time to live events is one of the best parts about Twitter, and to experience something as trivial as the VMA is exciting.

I’m not going to start following a bunch of pop singers, but maybe to make my Twitter feed pretty, I’ll throw some Taylor, Nicki and Miley into the mix.

Because when that beef hits the BBQ, I want it right there on my feed between fiscal predictions for Japan and a spray chart for the Jays clean-up hitter. A little frivolity isn’t a bad thing.

Catch Jason Godfrey on The Link on Life Inspired (Astro B.yond Ch 728).

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