Three weeks or so ago, Twitter e-mailed me to congratulate me on the one-year-anniversary of my Twitter account. I was impressed that a faceless corporate body had taken the time to remember such a thing (albeit most likely via an automated computer program), especially in light of the fact that I hadn’t remembered the anniversary at all.
So, imagine my surprise, when I returned to my house later that day to discover that Twitter had also sent me a large bunch of flowers, thanking me for putting up with so many irritating updates to the Twitter app, the kind that change your settings so that the app wakes you at two in the morning with the news that three people you have never heard of have just followed someone with an egg for a face and the twitter handle @fjfjs84jf74jdu.
Two days later, a card arrived, expressing Twitter’s appreciation for me having put up with promotional tweets appearing on my Twitter feed, distracting my attention from all the riveting tweets from writers trying to get me to buy their books. (On that note, if writers want to sell their books, why do they follow other writers? Has their experience of the writerly profession not taught them that this is the one social grouping most guaranteed to have no money whatsoever?)
You would have thought that Twitter would have shown their affection for me enough at that stage, but the next day, I was again surprised to receive a gift from them of a brand new Google smartphone, replete with a 46-inch display and all apps and numbers replaced by a direct button connecting me to Google headquarters, on the theory that all I have to do is tell Google what I want and they will do it for me. A tiny card from Twitter accompanied the gift, informing me that this was in appreciation of my having ignored over 1,000 needy direct messages from Twitter users thanking me for following them and asking me to like their Facebook pages as well. The card explained that people ignoring so many of these requests was responsible for a certain drop in usage of a rival social network that made the people at Twitter very happy indeed. Twitter users who ignored over a million DM requests of this nature, it pointed out, were rewarded with small blue ticks and Hollywood mansions (or Killiney ones, if you would rather have Bono as a neighbour than Justin Timberlake).
A week later, two executives arrived at my house, offering to clean my windows, make dinner for a week, and drive the kids to school. This, they explained, was in appreciation for my having propped up their organization to the tune of over 3,700 tweets. They explained that they felt that this was the least they could do given the substantive imbalance between their immense salaries and the annual income of the average Twitter user.
In case the reader is either deluded or possessed of an unusual abundance of optimism, especially in relation to the corporate sector, I probably do not have to explain which of the above events actually took place. If you are in either of the categories I mention, I leave you to enjoy your happy optimism/delusion. Who am I to get in the way of such happiness.