[UK] Today in London a couple of hundred delegates turned up to Jeff Pulver’s 140 Conference to jaw-jaw over the nature and impact of business and society of, well, Twitter. But as various startups and social media pundits took to the stage to debate the mostly positive impact Twitter will have, a much darker side has appeared on the social site in the last few days.
@Dinner_Guest is tweeting some extremely dark stuff. Most if it is decidedly not suitable for work, and read like passages from the novel about a killer, American Psycho. Of course, this is no surprise – Twitter is big enough now to attract all sorts of crazy people.
And normally you could dismiss such stuff as a prank from some teenager with an over-active imagination. It could also be some ridiculous viral marketing campaign for some slasher movie about to come out. But what is disturbing is the whiff of authenticity about the tweets.
They start innocently enough: “i am new here i hope i fit in, not sure how much to say about who i am” (9:53 PM Nov 10th from web)
But gradually it becomes apparent that Dinner Guest is tweeting about the real (or imagined) event of kidnapping a man, imprisoning him, injured and bleeding, in a lock-up and then disposing of the body – all in gruesome detail.
What is at least as disturbing is that this macabre Tweeter mentions real places, such as Brighton Beach.
Now, clearly this could all be part of some sick fantasy. The trouble is, should we take that chance, or do the Police in Brighton need to know that they have a potential serial killer on their hands who has taken to Twittering his killing spree?
It’s clearly not possible to know either way, until real-world events start to match up with Dinner Guest’s Tweets.
Personally I really do hope it’s a sick joke. The alternative is disturbing to contemplate.
Whatever happens it’s probably fair to predict that once the mainstream media finds out about this – as they will – there will be yet more calls for “Policing Twitter”, and other social platforms more widely. As usual, the question I always ask is – so, you’d rather lock this stuff down to the point where it goes underground or just never appears? As hard as it is to read this kind of content, I know which I prefer.