Twitter: Global MST3K

Ever since I heard about Twitter, and even since I joined it, I’ve been wondering just what it is FOR, and why it is so popular and fun. And today I think I figured it out. It’s global MST3K.

Of course that’s only part of the story. It was designed to update family and friends on your life, and many still use it for that (as well as celebrities updating their fans). And it provides an alternative to email for sharing news/links. And of course there are the spammers and self-promoters.

But, just look at the trending topics. When X-factor was on earlier, it was almost entirely X-factor related tweets. Thousands upon thousands of jokes, comments, riffs, all delivered in real time, supplementing the show itself. Or the Peep Show characters – that turned out to be a fan, watching the show and throwing out more jokes in sync with what was happening on screen.

It’s not just limited to TV of course. Riffing of bad movies is popular obviously, but there’s also people’s experience of technology (Windows 7, Google Wave) and current events (Balloon Boy!). Sure, commentary, satire and parody always happened before, but never at this breakneck real-time pace. Except in things like MST3K.