The Editorial: Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Twaddle.

The Editorial: Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Twaddle.

I recently had a little tiff over Twitter with a website for grannies, ran by grannies. The site had come up in the context of a design project, and so I had to spend a considerable amount of time on it. Feeling out of place and a bit bemused at the site’s content (sex advice and chat for grannies! the best iPhone apps for grannies!), I grumbled my way through my research and like any good twentysomething in 2012, I spat off a sarcastic tweet about it.

Within minutes, the site shot back with a sarcastic response. I had insulted some grannies! And our little battle raged on for a good 10 tweets or so. Those grannies were damn witty. Tack sharp. Knocked me under the table.

Now, this is precisely the point of Twitter. It gives us a major means of communication free of the decentralized, sprawling and impossible-to-navigate systems of the past. It has given everyone no-barriers access to everyone else in a porous, horizontal network which just may be the most democratic platform on the web. You like Phillip Lim’s new design? Tell him. You think your politician is doing a crap job? Tell them. Corporations, celebrities and politicians are on the same playing field as anyone else who might have something interesting to say. It’s nothing short of a revolutionary change that has certainly had its part in creating its own share of revolutions: the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement represent great advances in democracy that probably couldn’t have happened in a pre-Twitter world. There’s no telling what this type of communication without barriers may bring next.

But in the days of yore, it was a considerably more difficult to accidentally get into a fight with some anon grannies. What I had intended as a sideways joke for my colleagues ended up mostly just demonstrating to granny’s thousands of followers what a sarcastic jerk I am. Misplaced, misinterpreted tweets meant for one group (but inevitably seized upon by others) have led to ruined political careers, PR disasters, killed friendships and even a fair number of arrests.

And so today, as your fashion queen friends OMG over their afternoon tea and everyone else shamelessly pours out self-promotion, take a step back and reconsider your contributions. Share knowledge. Information. Maybe even good joke or two. But don’t let the free-for-all go to your head. Just because you have the platform on which to say it, that doesn’t mean anyone really wants to hear it. And we’ve each been given a golden opportunity to say something worthwhile to the whole world!

So tweet wisely, kids: I have a feeling it might not end well for me if I should see those grannies in the street.

Lars Tunbjörk is a Swedish photographer who has published several collections of works in monograph form. His office spaces with their absurd-looking, uncomfortable workers seems somehow to look quite a bit like Twitter at its aimless worse.

Tag Christof – Images courtesy of Lars Tunbjörk