Stephen Fry, the Queen of Spain and Darth Vader. What have they all got in common? They’re all on the social networking, Avis related phenomenon Twitter. Since it’s invention and launch in 2006, it’s become something of a celebrity and artist staking ground. But what exact impact has Twitter had on modern day music?
Speaking on Absolute Radio in July 2009, David Cameron was quoted saying that “too many twits make a twat”. A sophisticated and witty comment from our now national leader and brain behind the braun of our United Kingdom. Our Prime minister may not be an avid user of the popular mini blogging site, but you don’t have to go far to find many famous and slightly less famous users of Twitter. Across the great Atlantic ocean, out American Cousins deity and no-wrong-doer Barack Obama has a Twitter account. Well, at least you have an Eton graduation and a jaunty haircut, eh David?
Clearly, Twitter has become something of a sieve of information and leaks from the inner circle of celebrity and arts for the average man and woman to sort through. Speculation, scandal and ultimate success can spawn from just 140 characters. What about musicians, then? How does Twitter effect them? Not very well, in many cases. Technology is a beautiful, useful and ever needed thing in this cognitive period of time, but it has its drawbacks. Let’s face it, with great technology, comes stupendously hated computer hackers.
One of the famous, and recent cases, is the 2010 Reading and Leeds Festival headline saga. Just a few weeks before Guns ‘n’ Roses were set to headline the Festival, Axl Roses’ Twitter account was hacked. The anonymous tyrant Tweeted that the Axl and his fellow bandanna wearing rockers had cancelled their headline slot at Reading and Leeds Festival. A story that was later deemed untrue by the delayed and predictably abysmal performance which saw Axl change outfit every song. Another case is the Hayley Williams flashing photo leak. Was it photoshopped? Was it really being sent to her boyfriend? Was it as good as everyone had hoped it would be? Again, just like the Guns ‘n’ Roses scenario, it was proven to be falsifiable by the Paramore front woman, who quickly responded to the hack and deleted the original post.
On a more seriously and legal issue, Hole crazy lady Courtney Love was sued over liability reasons by fashion designer Simorangkir, in which Love was accused of pursing an ‘obsessional and delusional crusade’ in the way Love went about her Twitter business. This was after Love, the widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, purposely targeted nasty and malicious comments at the designer on the social networking site. Love again showing that controversy is her ‘style’, but not in a way we as a general public find it entertaining, or that interesting. More just stupid, petty and vindictive, if anything.
Nothing that really gives a solid thumbs up for Twitters effect on the music industry, does it? Unless you count an annoying has been playing at a festival Nirvana made their own years before and a fake tit flash a victory. Don’t despair, however. Twitter brought us the much wanted and anticipated birth of the Twitter feud. Also known as the cyber attack, internet scuffle, or online fisticuffs.
On the dry, no holds bard field of play, Twitter takes no prisoners in this battle. The likes of Ryan Jarman of The Cribs and rapper Professor Green have been two of the most recent scrappers on Twitter. Jarman accused Green of trying to hook up with the guitarists girlfriend, Kate Nash, through their respective tour managers. In typical satirical style, Green tweeted Jarman saying “Pretty sure I didn’t try hitting on your girlfriend”. All of a sudden, the exposure of Twitter to musicians makes perfect sense. This is the kind of situation average people are determined all the time. Even in the celebrity world, artists can argue over such things as this.
Or, if you’re more of a sociologist, we see a classical institutional Twitter bitching session between Oxfordshire math rock hipsters Foals, declaring their thoughts and opinions on Welsh Emo rockers Lostprophets. Foals frontman, Yannis Philippakis, likened the Welsh six piece to a “bony old chihuahua pissing on its own leg”. The hilarious scrap was sparked after Ian Watkins had tweeted “I’ve got some news. Foals are fucking shit” days before. Yet another comedic example of Twitters influence on our rising, and already risen, musicians.
What else is to it? Yeah, it’s true. Twitter brings a good ninety-something percentage of complete lies and scandalous legality issues that brakes into mainstream news quicker than Shaun Ryder can swear after stubbing his toe. But where else can you see feuds and fights where the opponents are hiding behind the safety of the computer screen? Where else can millions of people witness Liam Gallagher extensively call someone a ‘wanker’ in 140 characters? Forget that Twitter can be informative, controversial and another notch on mainstream cultures bedpost. Every so often, it can be funny. Exactly what everyone can enjoy and relate to. There’s nothing better than watching someone humiliate themselves or others in a micro sentence.
Twitter can distract us from the music, but it can also remind us that artists are, and always have been, hatful, and yet lovable, human beings. Subtle, spontaneous and witty comments are three very appropriate words that define us as British people. We pride ourselves on our sense of humour. Having said that, maybe Cameron’s words actually ring a word of truth for a change. Remember, Twitter can be a dangerous playground, and “too many twits make a twat”.