Looking down my Twitter feed, it seems to me that the 140-character-loving public has forgotten something. They've forgotten how to be interesting. That includes me, incidentally, before you go and tweet something rude @Ashley_Morrison in response. I just don't have the time to dream up funny or pithy tweets every five seconds to make my hundreds of glorious followers guffaw their latte over their smartphones.
I mean, I am REALLY funny and REALLY pithy, but sometimes life away from my phone gets in the way.
Yes, you might get the odd wry one about Scottish Independence which makes me smirk for a nano-second, but by and large, people are either just saying they hate ABC (as in something random, not the new wave '80s band), getting all outraged (or defensive) about XYZ, or extraordinarily emotive subjects such as sabotaged baked Alaskas (#GBBO #Bingate), or they're having bantery private conversations with (or “@”) other people. And Lord knows that if you're providing a link to an article in a newspaper prefixed by what is essentially the phrase “I agree with this”, I won't read it. Who would?
I'm a shade disappointed to learn that the term “twoaning” already exists – Twitter moaning – because I would dearly love to have coined that phrase and whacked copyright on it. Because it seems to me that now more than ever, people take to Twitter just to have a jolly good moan. Not Facebook, though. Oh, no. No, on Facebook it's all “look how cute my baby is” (and if you don't “Like” my billionth photo of my offspring sitting in a chair then you're not my friend anymore), ice bucket challenges (see my last blog - click here) or, heaven preserve us, PHOTOS OF YOUR PLATE OF FOOD.
I mean, dear God, are we THAT bored of normal conversation and THAT trigger-happy with our smartphone cameras that we actually expect people to give a diddly squat about the shepherd's pie we've just made?
Unless it features a shepherd hand-sculpted out of cheddar cheese or a mashed potato sheep doing a handstand, trust me, I ain't interested.
So yeah, anyway, back to moaning (as in, the subject of this blog, as opposed to what I'm coincidentally doing right now). I would like to take my hat off to King Bono of Ireland for giving half a billion people something to moan about. Because the sunglassed king of rock wailing dared to give us something for free. Well, actually, Apple gave us something for free. U2 sure as hell didn't; Apple paid them a small (no, make that large) fortune for the rights to their new album, Songs of Innocence. Timed with the launch of iPhone 6 and the new Apple watch, it landed in every iTunes account in existence free of charge.
Since that moment, desperate tweeters have rejoiced at having something new to moan about. Oh, it was all ostensibly about intrusion of privacy, of course. How dare they plant an album in my iTunes library without my permission... It's a slippery slope... all that sort of thing. You can, of course, simply delete the blasted thing and then that's that. But there's way too much mileage to be had to do that, of course.
And, to be fair to the tweeters, some of their splurges of anger are very amusing:
@TheBathBird: Apparently, if your iPhone gets stolen, U2′s album plays at full volume on a constant loop, and it sends you a photo of the thief sobbing.
@Donna_Gallers: My favourite U2 album is the one I used as a frisbee for my dog & threw into the River Tamar.
@scribbles78: I'm frightened to open this muller rice in case U2 have left an album in there.
@tomscott: September 12, 2035. Apple releases the new version of iBrain. Two billion people simultaneously start singing U2's latest album.
@jacquesgreene: anyone know how I could have 12 recordings of myself farting appear in Bono's iTunes?
I for one am delighted by the stunt, for two reasons: number one, like it or hate it, it is a very bold move and a superb marketing ploy. How many bands in history can boast that there album has potentially reached half a billion people in one go – and without a penny being spent on traditional marketing? It's a stroke of genius, even if it annoys five million people – ie, 1% of the target audience. And secondly, my Twitter feed has never been funnier. Thank you, Great British U2-hating public...
Ashley is a copywriter, editor and blogger
Follow Ashley on Twitter (he's not very funny, though, and doesn't moan that often)