Kristin Hall: Angelina shakes a leg and we Twitter


Sadly, technology isn't yet capable of making boring people interesting.

They've been around 36 years. Their careers started small - they earned mentions in the odd review, fitted in with the crowd, never did anything overtly offensive. They were commendable, generally and quietly envied by others in the field. But like all successful types, they were not satisfied with trivial victories and instead decided one day to take a stand, quite literally, like never before.

It was a day they would cherish the rest of their lives, the day they gained international fame, fortune and desire. On February 26, Angelina Jolie's legs, or at least the right one, earned its own Twitter account.

For those who know nothing about the mystifying world of Twitter, its creators describe it as a social networking and microblogging service that allows you answer the question; "What are you doing?" by sending 140 character messages, called "tweets", to your friends or "followers".

To the lackey, Twitter is a glamourised method of surveillance, allowing the online world to know exactly what you're doing, thinking and consuming during your every waking micro-second.

At Monday's Oscars ceremony, Jolie poked her leg out of her dress a bit. This alone was worthy of international media hysteria and most disturbingly, over 36, 000 Twitter followers for the account "Angie'sRightLeg". They can now log on for their daily feed of cyber stalking safe in the knowledge they'll receive breaking updates such as "I'm a leg!!" "You have to admit I'm one hell of a leg" and "Check me out! Leg!!".

Had the internet's early pioneers known their creation would morph into this, they may have quietly jumped off a bridge somewhere before finishing the project.

But it's not just celebrities or their biological appendages that commit their lives to daily, even hourly, "tweets".

The thing I find most extraordinarily baffling is that most people on Twitter are everyday, heinously mundane people.

If there is anything I have learnt from my experience with social media, it's that a communication platform in the hands of the uninteresting is a very dangerous thing.

Although I don't shun the idea of Facebook, the amount of pure inane garbage people continue to spam to my newsfeed is almost enough to make my eyeballs bleed.

I have friends who think it necessary to update Facebook every time they take it upon themselves to break a sweat. Such updates typically include, but are not limited to: "About to go for a run, should be a hard one, but looking to scrape a second off my time".

Their 637 friends wait in vein-popping anticipation, refreshing the page for 40 minutes for the next thrilling instalment.

"What a run. Still haven't beaten my personal best thanks to a good 0.07 seconds of moisture drag, damn those puddles! Shower time!".

I'm waiting in fear for the day Nike invents a pedometer that allows you to update your Facebook. "500 steps so far! Really sweaty! Would be going way faster if I could touch type on this thing - sort it out Nike!"

Another equally baffling phenomenon is meal-posting, the bizarre trend of uploading pictures of what you or others are eating.

Sadly, technology isn't yet capable of making boring people interesting.

I'm reluctant to admit I have a Twitter account. For all its pitfalls, the ability to instantly update or pass on news from around the world makes it a key weapon in my news freak artillery.

The online news revolution means virtually every outlet now has a Twitter account, allowing the everyday voyeur to receive breaking updates from every corner of the globe.

My personal profile, on the other hand, is dismally inactive. I have six followers, five of whom are personal friends who signed up out of sympathy. The other is a sales consultant for Japan Food Corp called Phillip Gwon. I have tweeted once, by mistake, when I re-posted a Reuters update about the presidential transfer in the Yemeni government.

I don't know if I'm alone in this but the people I'd be most interested in getting hourly updates from are either dead or fictional.

"Anne's head looks quite pretty now that it's not attached to her body - am having second thoughts." - Henry VIII.

"ThIss TweATting Bus.siNESS/ IS f[ar ToO tRi c:kY whEn $yOu Don'T h>avE iMp0saBAL tHumBZ And YouUr PAwss A*re CovEre/d in ; h0nEyy." - Winnie T. Pooh.

As much as I relish the fact I can access practically any information I want about my friends and favoured personalities, the world will probably never need to know acute details of my own daily routine.

Alas, I was not born to Tweet and I don't plan to - unless Angelina Jolie does something extraordinary with her other leg.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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