I was waiting by the pool last week for someone to show – or at least, I think it was last week, my memory’s so shot these days – when a notification popped up on my phone. “Your tweet has been retweeted!” it exclaimed in that usual shrill Twitter voice. Funny, I thought, I haven’t used Twitter for well over a year so wondered what the algorhythm had done on my behalf.
True enough, a silly little tweet about the state of the launderette I had made eighteen months ago had been reposted by someone in Alaska. Have they nothing better to do than to respond to eighteen month old tweets I wondered. And ignored it, trying to concentrate on the poolside activity that was misbehaving that early morning.
But not for long. A few minutes later another notification popped its head over the parapet. Someone had commented about the launderette, this time from Russia. The story’s nearly two years old I muttered. How come it’s still running?
That’s the problem with Twitter it occurred to me. The damn stories don’t stop coming, they just go around and around cyberspace, like a spiral within a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel I mused (rather poetically I thought at the time until I realised I had just remembered some lines from a corny Noel Harrison song.) In the meantime, we have to deal with retweets of retweets, old themes which refuse to die and even older story lines which will never go away.
Luckily, some time later that morning I was able to prise myself away from responding to the tweets, the quotes and the trivia which had preoccupied me and get down to work for a change. Not that that lasted long. The five year old launderette saga had reminded me that I’d left a pair of socks there last time I visited and never got them back. It was about time I tweeted them to see if they had found them recently and to hang on to them until I got back from the Algarve.