The Twanopticon

Oh I do love taking words and putting tw- on the front of them to suggest their appropriation by twitter culture, or rather, their twappropriation. That'll never grow old, that one.

Anyway …

Last night I was waiting at York station for the lovely Dr B to return from Scotland (where she was attending a Prime Suspect fan convention, or something like that), and found myself with some time to spare. So, as is the style these days, I ignored all other human beings, found a bench and got my iPhone out. Having checked my email and RSS feeds, I hit twitter, only to find one of those brilliant mundane-yet-oddly-engaging micro-narratives taking place.

Somewhere in Belfast, Richard Weston (aka @acejet170) was dismantling his oven.

Now I know what you're thinking – is that it? A guy was doing some handy-work? Why would you tweet that? Why would you bother reading those tweets? And why on Earth would you then blog about it the next day?

Well, it helps, of course, that he's a rather funny chap, but I love the fact that he was turning a horrid household (and let's be honest, damn manly) chore into an entertaining interactive spectator event. His blow-by-blow account of his Smeg-dismantlement made the whole thing seems like a text-adventure The Crystal Maze, with him in the room struggling with the task, and a bunch of us peering in through the window screaming at him to just ruddy well do the ruddy task and GET THE RUDDY CRYSTAL. Or like a passage from a Nick Hornby book, being written live right there in front of you; an essay on the pleasures of taking things apart without setting fire to yourself. It was a distraction, but one emanating from a tiny slither of real life. It was perfect for five minutes on a bench in a railway station.

Social networks have made us willing inmates in a pocket version of Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, allowing ourselves to be observed by one another in lots of different ways all the time. That is, on the one hand, downright terrifying. But on the other, it's, full of interaction, narrative and illogical connections (I love me them illogical connections right now, so I do). If you don't enjoy using twitter, you're simply not doing it right.

In summary: stop being scared of the future and embrace it and enjoy it and fill it with silly little stories of kitchen maintenance. And follow @acejet170.