Though in and of themselves the Winter Olympics in Sochi are not necessarily that funny, it is one more occasion on which I am again amazed at the power of Twitter. No, that’s wrong. Amazed at what people can do with Twitter if they have a bit of time on their hands and a brain that is wide awake. And, OK, a sense of humour, too.
Since the start of the Olympics someone is active under the Twitter handle @SochiProb and sharing impressions of the Games and the environment in which the sports men and women and entourage are working.
— Sochi Problems (@SochiProblems) February 5, 2014
Don’t throw paper in toilet, we won’t always fix. You understand I know. pic.twitter.com/CdyxsrSItE
— Sochi Problems (@SochiProb) February 6, 2014
— Sochi Problems (@SochiProblems) February 4, 2014
It reminds me of the two Twitter accounts that appeared last summer after the team bus of the Australian Orica-GreenEdge cycling team had got stuck under the finish of the first stage of the Tour de France not that long before the riders were due to arrive there for the final sprint, deciding who would wear the yellow leader’s jersey.
"Be proud," they say. "Stand tall," they say. Look where it gets me…
— Orica-GreenEdge Bus (@OricaGreenEdgeB) June 29, 2013
— Orica Bus Driver (@OricaBusDriver) June 29, 2013
Marcus Kittel has got a cheek riding in yellow today. We all know who the rightful owner of the maillot jaune is! pic.twitter.com/sea7kZ1iSJ
— Orica Bus Driver (@OricaBusDriver) June 30, 2013
You may find these tweets as funny as I do, or you may not find them so special at all.
Either way, I find it interesting to see how people can use Twitter as a medium to play a role and to see that others react to that, without even having any clue as to who the people behind the Twitter handles are. We, the audience, join the make believe, and reply to the Orica-GreenEdge team bus and to Sochi Problems as if they were our long time friends.
This ‘role playing’ is also used for educational purposes, like in the case of the Twitter account @RealTimeWWII
Ciano: “Göring has two loves – beautiful objects and making war. Both are expensive hobbies." pic.twitter.com/PgDZvVw420
— WW2 Tweets from 1942 (@RealTimeWWII) February 4, 2014
Of course, one cannot really compare @SochiProb to @RealTimeWWII in terms of content. But both accounts do provide us a window onto places most of us can never see for ourselves and, more importantly, both give a certain different or new perspective on a situation we all think we know about from books and television.
For me, that new perspective is a crucial step in any learning process, and it is why I like Twitter so much. Without always being aware of it, I shape my view of the world and of the people in it every day thanks to those tweeps I follow.
In 1910, a French illustrator named Villemard predicted what the year 2000 would be like: pic.twitter.com/SwljRnxsGx
— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPics) February 7, 2014