Twitter’s Blue Lines

by isabelrogers

If you’ve arrived here without going via Twitter you can click here for cute puppy pictures, because you won’t know or care what I’m going on about. Perhaps you don’t anyway. In which case we need to talk about why you’re here. Let’s take that offline.

The Blue* Lines. Or, to give them their correct title, The Bloody Annoying Blue Lines. They’ve been with us for a few days now, and if anything have got more annoying. I’m going to try not to swear too much in this post but it might get a bit Tourette’s on us, for which I apologise.

They are supposed to “enhance” our conversations, by showing us what someone said prior to replying. But we could see that before with a click of one button. And we probably read it when they said it anyway. All that happens now is the original tweet shows up at the top of your timeline every time someone replies, which is frankly dull and not what I joined Twitter for.

I don’t like change. Specifically, I don’t like change that makes me swear out loud and try other things like Echofon (didn’t get on with it) and then makes me feel like a technophobe for complaining.

If the Blue Line were a person, it would be a hyperactive, OCD child who has a limited grasp of conversation and no sense of discretion. You’d be chatting to a friend, and he’d pipe up from somewhere down by your knee “but you said Geoff had big ears!”. You’d try to hush him, because the person you are talking to is an acquaintance of Geoff’s neice, and carry on talking. Then he’d shout across the street at someone you’d met in passing the week before “Hey! My mum thinks Geoff has enormous ears!” and they’d stop, cross the street dodging the oncoming trucks, and offer their opinion on the size of the ears in question. But you and your friend aren’t talking ears any more: that was hours ago. You’ve moved on to the best way to make martinis. The knee-high kid is having none of it. “Ears! EARS!” keeps interrupting the finer points of olives and optimal temperature of gin. You finally walk on, with him yelling “ENORMOUS EARS!” behind you at the small crowd gathered on the pavement.

A while later you return home via a different route, perhaps a shady country lane where you stop to admire the view, sniffing honeysuckle and stroking the muzzle of a friendly horse. Instagram might be involved. This idyll is shattered as someone cycles past with what looks like your child riding pillion, ostentatiously large helmet strapped to that grinning, idiotic head. The words “GEOFF HAS ENORMOUS EARS!!!!!!!” Doppler past. The horse bolts, terrified. A wasp stings you in fright. You swear. Quite a lot.

Trouble is, there is not just one irritating child. A clone is produced every time someone says something interesting enough to reply to, which – given the brilliant people I follow – is quite often. Soon we are wading through an army of dwarf shouters, trying to hear each other’s replies over their yelling.

I’ve not heard one person say one good thing about the Blue Lines. If they are about to make Twitter a lot of money because advertisers can finesse their original puff to the top of  timelines then we’ll find somewhere else to chat.

I’d like to clarify that I don’t know anyone called Geoff, and any ear size implied by this post is fictional. Thank you for listening. If enough of us tell Twitter how much we hate what they’ve done, they might do the right thing.

* Most of us have blue. Apparently some of you have other colours depending on your setup. Let’s just agree that they are coloured infuriating.