Some people have been saying “it was Twitter wot won it”. (On Twitter.) That sounds pat but it actually says a lot about the way the media has changed. In 1992, after yet another Conservative election victory, the Sun front page headline gloated “It’s the Sun wot won it”. In 2011, people power – via social media – means that the grip on public opinion that traditional media used to take for granted is on its way out.
The consumer campaign that led to News of the World losing its advertising has had the high profile. But what I have really enjoyed is the thing that Twitter does supremely well: satire.
It’s been wonderful to watch fake accounts spring up overnight, just to make a point.
There are several spoof Rebekah Brooks on Twitter, including @NewtsoftheWorld and @Rebekah_thehack. (And, confusingly, a genuine @Rebekah_Brooks in New Hampshire who happens to be a freelance writer.)
My favourite so far is @RebekahBrooksNI.
On 6th July, she tweeted: “Just so you know, whenever anything ever happened, I was on holiday. Or horse riding. Or looking at my hair. Blame that bastard Coulson.”
Two days later she tweeted: “So if I click ‘Empty Trash’ everything is gone? For Good?”
Meanwhile, @RupertMurdochPR tweets: “The Sun’s new prison correspodent, Andy Coulson, might be starting his new job sooner than I thought. Keep yah bloody trap shut, Andy.”
A fake Andy Coulson account, @AndyECoulson, has been around for a while and had this to say back in January: “Anyone who believes I have the technical skill to tap phones should have seen my feeble attempts to delete my harddrive this morning.”
And thanks to the well established account @mydavidcameron I discovered a brand-new spoof Sun on Sunday newspaper with some brilliant parodies of tabloid stories, including “What’s in a name? Cameron to shut down monarchy” and “Cops Give Andy Coulson a Cup of Tea – at TAXPAYERS EXPENSE!”