With echoes of Jimmy Savile and his Clunk-Click-Every-Trip / Think-Twice-Before-You-Cross-The-Road safety campaigns of the 1970s, perhaps we ought to update one of these 'Uncle Jimmy' slogans for the digital age - THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU TWEET ...or press that button, or post that blog, or update your Facebook profile (to 'Sad Bastard'), or put your ugly mug on YouTube.
Let's just call it "A Guide to 21st Century Etiquette" - or, more realistically, a "21st Century Survival Guide"...the latest buffoon not to have thought twice before pressing-the-self-destruct-button was the British ambassador to Chile, who thought he was sending a private message about a Chilean football song that refers to all Argentineans as being homosexualists and surrender-monkeys but, instead, actually tweeted the less-than-diplomatic message to his 10,000 followers, leading to outrage in Latin America and causing the Argentineans to consider invading the Isle of Wight in retaliation.
Often, of course, it is footballers tweeting about their latest nightclub brawl, Page 3 conquest, new Ferrari or calling someone a "choc-ice" and then rapidly issuing an apology the next morning, once their clubs' press-officers have caught-up with them and reminded them about the clause in their contracts that refers to being [sic] "a role model for the youth of today" (which roughly translates to "keep your feet on the pitch and not in your mouth").
Sadly, however, this phenomenon is not limited to latter-day George Bests, with everyone from politicians to 'celebrities' also being prone to regular gaffes...although sometimes a little happiness does result, cue the glee and mirth amongst the pupils of a junior-high-school class in the US, when their teacher definitely pressed the-wrong-button and managed to synchronise her cell phone with the school's iPads, giving her class an extra biology lesson courtesy of the topless photographs of herself that were then shared with the world.
Another good, Plebeian use of Twitter this past week was when a lowly journalist - who happened to be on the same train as the Chancellor of the Exchequer - tweeted that George 'Boxcar' Osborne was engaged in a form of upmarket fare-dodging, the Old Etonian apparently thinking it a 'jolly good wheeze' to ride in First Class, but on a Pleb Class ticket. The ticket inspector was evidently made of sterner stuff, however and - as with his erstwhile colleagues who protect the gates to Downing Street - stood-up to Boxcar George, extracting £189 in fare upgrades in the process. Now, if only the Chancellor could manage similar extractions from the Non-Doms and his chums in The City, then the prospect of balancing the country's books would cease to be a fiction worthy of JK Rowling.
Even Google had a Mission-Control-Moment, with some no-doubt now ex-executive pressing the right button, but at the wrong time and announcing to the World - ahead-of-time - that the See-No-Evil, Hear-No-Evil, Do-No-Evil conglomerate had sliding revenues. Cue a temporary suspension of trading in Google shares and, upon resumption, a drop in value ($18 Billion in 48 hours) that would make even Felix Baumgartner think twice before jumping / investing [Felix - delete as applicable when you regain consciousness].
For the-mother-of-all-mistakes, however, look no further than the Prime Minister joining Twitter, as there's nothing more un-cool than someone trying desperately hard to look cool - and failing. How long before our accident-prone PM gives us all something to chuckle about?! He coulda-shoulda-woulda used his Twitter account to very good effect and boosted his popularity in the process, by Doing-an-Alan-Sugar on the Chief Whip - Andrew 'Thrasher' Mitchell - and tweeting the two word message that the whole country's been waiting for him to send : "YOU'RE FIRED".
No round-up of the past week would be complete without lauding the valiant efforts of two British boffins, who - in typically British, underdog style - have rebuilt 'Flossie', one of the world's few surviving mainframe computers from the early 1960s, in a garden shed. The 5 ton computer - that even starred as a prop in 007's The Man With The Golden Gun - is a bitter-sweet reminder of those halcyon and distant days when Britain led the world in computer design...and jet-liner design, car design, television design and much more (but that's a whole other story - in fact it really is - just see Two Portions of Valves & Chips Please from The Huffington Post archive). Hopefully the British government will step-in and give this piece of technological archaeology a proper home, or at least some lottery funding, but don't hold-your-breath, this lot of seeming incompetents are too busy saving their own skins and offloading their Google and Facebook shares to worry about technological heritage for us mere Plebs.
Talking of Uncle Jimmy, one of his old cars is currently for sale on the classic car market - a 1970s Range Rover with a double-bed, curtains and a sink in the back. Savile by name, SaVILE by nature. Needless to say, the mobile boudoir's price has fallen faster than a Felix Baumgartner sky-dive - although, now that Gary Glitter's on-the-outside again, who knows where it may end-up, and, whatever happens, just remember what your mother told you when you were growing-up - never accept sweets from a stranger and, if someone asks you if you'd "like to see some puppies", the answer is a resounding "NO".Suggest a correction