Monday, 7 October 2013


F#cking Hashtag This

Immersed in the midst of this new and evolving Digital Age, it’s sometimes difficult to see the gigs for 01001110100110s. In North America we don’t manufacture much of anything anymore. The economy is based on abstracts: big finance, services, brand promotion, and entertainment in all of its forms. And that’s okay so long as the haute mode rags from third world firetrap factories are competitively priced and the Lululemon leotards aren’t too, too sheer.

In our capital, Parliament has been prorogued again, likely to let the Senate expense scandal digest from the maw to the anus of the 24-hour news cycle. (Question: How can an admitted illiterate such as current Senator and former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers not have problems with Upper House expense forms while two formerly renowned and nationally known journalists did?) South of the 49th parallel that whiff of end of empire is becoming a stink as Republicans and Democrats again stage financial high noon on Main Street, U.S.A. Again, no news here nor there.

What generated buzz last week was Twitter’s tweet of its looming IPO. Twitter has never made money and posted a loss of nearly $70-million for the first six months of 2013. As any gambler will tell you, losses have a way of adding up. The company hopes to raise $1-billion at, I don’t know, $140 a throw? Those sterling and trustworthy folks on Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, will figure that out.

The Twitter universe is a strange and peculiar place. It is rife with fake accounts and downright fraudulent ones. It is a tool of self-promotion and product promotion although more often than not its restrictive format does not act as a natural filter. Fortunately red-faced users can fall back on the now standard standby of the ‘hacked account.’ Marketers, eager to exploit social media though mostly unsure how to, stunned by the fact that their products and services are not universally adored, cannot resist the urge to censor their own accounts. Only fluffy, happy content, please. Tweets are often reported as legitimate news by traditional media. Tweets are often used to report breaking news by members of the traditional media. Yet those fusty old rules of fact-checking and confirmation by two or more additional sources are often circumvented in haste or plain forgotten.

Twitter is a cacophony of babble; a Tower of Babel erected in a swamp. What sane investor would want a piece of this? Perhaps someone who thinks Groupon is a good buy. LO f#cking L.

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