Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Twitter to Enter the Mainstream on January 23rd?

Well, quite possibly. Jonathan Ross returns to our screens on January 23rd following a three-month ban for his part in the ‘Sachsgate’ madness (for those of you who aren’t British or have no access to the media other than my blog, in October Jonathan was a guest on Russell Brand’s BBC radio show. They telephoned no-show guest Andrew Sachs - an actor who played a bumbling Spanish racial stereotype in a classic 70’s British sitcom with John Cleese – and reached the actor’s voicemail. Jonathan blurted out “he fucked your granddaughter” during the series of messages the duo left – referring to Russell’s fling with Sachs’ offspring’s offspring who can currently be seen touring Eastern Europe in her burlesque troupe ‘Satanic Sluts’ (yes, really). Two complaints were filed against the late-night show but only when, eight days later, a conservative newspaper picked up on the ‘scandal’ did 38,000 horrified people then decide to bother to complain. The country briefly went into a state of panic – it was even discussed by our head of state in the House of Commons (again, yes, really) and a slew of suspensions and resignations (including Brand’s) followed. It seems surreal looking back. I expect to see this referred to in my future children’s sociology text-books under “How People Know What To Be Offended By” or something…).
Whilst Ross has been away he has been (much to the chagrin of those who complained against him) taking holidays, throwing dinner parties, spending time with his family and of course tweeting! Just the kind of stuff anyone would do if they had three months off work I suppose. His activity on the rapidly burgeoning micro-blogging site Twitter under the moniker ‘Wossy’ (so called because of his signature pronunciation of the letter “r”) started on December 1st with the entry “getting to know twitter”. He really got into the swing of things on December 16th when he discovered one of the many mobile applications that give quick and easy access to Twitter on the move - ‘TwitterFon’ for the iPhone. Since then he’s been constantly conversing with his now thousands of ‘followers’ posing various questions to stimulate massive global conversations on subjects ranging from advice on his comeback radio playlist to a discussion on preferred bandnames in popular video game Rock Band. Having spent the festive period in Florida we have been kept up to date with poolside developments, as well as the odd unguarded spit of vitriol directed at the British press. He joked “I have realized the error of my ways. For next three weeks I will sit in uncomfy chair and read The Daily Mail That's punishment enough.” Between more comment about his vacation and jovial conversation with friends and fans he also describes Piers Morgan as a “grotesque talent-vacuum” and five minutes later declares “am having a lovely time. And will continue enjoying myself when back at work, and will continue to ignore the braying of low level hacks.”
In recent days he has changed his bio to read “Number One Twitter Detective.” and has made an admirable effort to verify – with the help of his presumably comprehensive phone book – celebrities on the site. So far he has rumbled imposters of Jack Dee, Eddie Izzard and Jeremy Clarkson (who he is persuading to create an account) whilst confirming the identity of comedy writer Graham Linehan and working on that of comedian Harry Enfield, who appears fake for now.
One celebrity who is well-known to be the real deal is the seemingly omniscient power-user Stephen Fry. Following some brief interchange between the two giants of public broadcasting Jonathan tweeted earlier this afternoon “will see if stephen wants to twitter on the show”, sparking rumours that Fry who, along with Lee Evans and Franz Ferdinand, is booked as a guest on Ross’ first show back from suspension will tweet live and consequently be required to explain what all the fuss is about on one of the most watched shows on British television.
Could 24th January be the day we all have to teach our parents how to use Twitter?