2/17/13

spotterflies

Walking to the shop in Ranelagh I noticed a touch of Spring in the air. A few small things - the bright sunshine, a small breeze running over a pygmy daffodil in a garden, and construction workers laying down tarmac in the main street - heralded the change. So, I took out my phone and texted to myself "write a blog about Spring being in the air" - because that's how us bloggers perceive the world, as potential content. Then, at that precise point, when I was thinking of new life and regeneration, what should roll slowly through the main street? Only a full funeral cortege. The universe having its laugh.

I spent a lot of my extracurricular time on two activities this past week, curating the @Ireland account on twitter and messing around with spotify (which I only began to use recently).

The moon over Ranelagh last night - photo, as usual, from my crummy phone

The @Ireland account, which you can view here, has 12,700 followers, so it was very interesting to experience twitter through that lens. I can see how having so many followers might go to your head. For example, any tweet you write, no matter how mundane, will gather at least a few favourite stars and perhaps one or two retweets. That's for 12,700 followers. Now, imagine being a celebrity with ten times that figure. You'd surely end up deluded, feeling like Moses coming down from the mountain, your every word, even the clichéd old "toast for breakfast" tweet, taken as wit or wisdom, gathering retweets, favourites and responses galore.

Ahead of doing the @Ireland account thing, I figured that I would have a lot to say. It turns out that I didn't really. I found it hard to maintain a daily presence and I ended up waffling about relatively tame stuff - garden birds, things in Kells, etc... There's no doubt that I'll probably spend all of the coming week having little ideas and saying "fuck, I wish I was still @Ireland."

One last funny thing about the account - there were people who treated it as if it were the official face of the country, like the office of the Taoiseach or some shit. As if the person curating the account at any given time has an obligation to pass comment on news stories relating to Ireland or the Irish. On the day the pope resigned, I had an apoplectic man tweeting "on the evening the pope resigns, what does the @Ireland account do? Tweet pictures of his dinner #fail." Clarifying his tweet later, he said he "at least expected some comment" - and then I briefly wished that I was, in fact, Muslim - as I might well have been - so I could properly show up the assumption about religion that was inherent in his angry tweet.

Spotify was my other distraction this week. I downloaded it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and began using the service deeply, in that I tried out features such as the radio and playlist tools. I love it.

I love:

(i) Being able to nose on my friends. Apart from the kick (don't call the guards. It's non sexual) I get from looking in townhouse windows at nights, I never thought of myself as much of a noser. Yet, looking at what my friends are listening to in real time on spotify is an unusually gratifying activity. I'll give a specific example. I have a friend, Ciarán, who is entirely obsessed with historic pop charts, and of a Sunday evening, I can watch his weird, hyper-specific, almost certainly OCD behaviour from afar - "Ciarán just added Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap Your Face' to his playlist 'English Pop Charts for the Week Ending Februay 21st 1981.'"

(ii) Making weird playlists. This is always a work in progress. Here are some of my playlists.

Drone lake
Songs that are probably perfect
Jazzberries

I like the app so much that I think I'm going to upgrade to the premium service shortly, if only to get rid of the annoying male voice from the ads. You know him; he's the smug knob who says completely nonsensical things like "plug in to the twittesphere", "I like listening to show tunes but I don't want my friends to know," and "EVERYBODY loves lists." If his only function is to drive people around the bend until they pay for the premium service, then I salute the genius in their marketing department.

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