As easy as it is to mock Twitter and the millions of sad, needy users who seek to validate their meaningless existences by slavishly following the illusion of proximity to witty celebrities, while disclosing every mind-numbing detail of their own hum-drum lives, it also has the power to spread word of news faster and wider than any other medium yet devised.
For the last three weeks, every news bulletin on every Japanese television channel has featured extensive coverage of their seasonably warm, humid summer, with reporters stationed around the country, interviewing uncomfortably hot citizens, helping the Japanese public understand and come to terms with the extent and effects of the annual hot spell that has once again afflicted this nation of over 120 million.
Not that you might notice in Britain. News of this yearly Far East meteorological phenomenon has gone almost completely unreported in the UK press and is absent from TV bulletins, the whole story seemingly suppressed as 'uninteresting' or 'irrelevant', the media preferring, as they have in previous years, to throw up a smoke screen of political and financial news instead.
Thanks to Twitter, though, the truth will out, with tweets such as 'OMFG it's hot' from AndySharpy2009, and BruceYates77's 'I'm sweating like a pig. LOL', allowing people around the world to keep up to date with the summer weather in Japan, bypassing the traditional gatekeepers of reportage and undermining their power to set the agenda.
Media expert Seth Lynch calls it 'systemic autointertrivialisation' explaining that, “people are tired of the same old bland opinion and information served up by the old world media and seek out newer, blander opinion and information via the web.”
But the beauty of Twitter is that communication is two-way, and so the sweltering millions in Japan can draw some real-time succour by reading the opinions of thousands of Britons on Lily Allen's pregnancy and the so-called 'Peckham Terminator', currently trending.