BEING TRAPPED IN THE DARKENED BUNKER that is The Inquirer's London headquarters often leaves we who dwell within little notion of the time of day, day of the week, or even month of the year. We are herded into our solitary cells long before dawn and are let back out onto the streets only long after the city's daytime denizens are safely cosseted in their suburban homes.
Which is why most of us just presumed it was the first of April when news of the Twitter Peek landed on our desks. Now we all like a good laugh, and we have been the butt of many a prank in the umpteen years since our founder Mike Magee managed to crawl out of the bars long enough to create The Inquirer, but we all thought we'd sussed this one as soon as we saw it.
I mean, seriously. Whoever would be stupid enough to create a device so dumb that all it could do was send and receive Tweets? What's more, who would be stupid enough to cough up $100 to actually buy such a pointless device?
Flying in the face of modern thinking, where convergence is the catchword of the century and everyone wants their electronic devices to do more and more, one clever company of souls decided that all of the hype about six months ago surrounding Twitter and its millions of devoted followers was true.
Unfortunately for Peek - the company behind this particular one-trick pony - just about everyone who thought Twitter was a fantastic idea and downloaded the free software to their smartphone six months ago has since caught on to the truth of the matter.
Having to constantly validate your pathetic existence by letting a bunch of complete strangers virtually stalk your every move electronically doesn't make you a better person. And it doesn't improve anybody else's life either. It just lets the rest of the world peer voyeuristically into the depths of your pitiable insecurity, to remotely peel back the all too few layers of your fragile psyche and reveal the quivering mess of excruciatingly boring rituals, humiliatingly routine suffering and existentially desperate acts that is your life.
If you want to share the unfiltered ramblings of your perpetually bewildered and tortured mind with a complete stranger, and pay money for the privilege, go and see a psychiatrist. Or if you really need a friend, get a dog.
Which brings us to the King of the Tweeters and National Treasure Stephen Fry. The UK's favourite comedian, novelist and TV presenter is probably responsible for giving more publicity to Twitter than any other living being. In fact, Fry is perhaps the biggest Twit in the world with close to a million followers.
He is erudite, intelligent and above all, interesting. He spends his life travelling the world seeing things and meeting people that most of us would never encounter in a hundred lifetimes, and the little snippets of information he throws at Twitter are illuminating, amusing and entertaining. He also spends an awfully large proportion of his life sitting in hotel rooms and airports.
That's two good reasons for Stephen to want to share his every move with his adoring public via the medium of Tweeting. The third reason and a better explanation is that he is a bipolar manic depressive.
The problem with having close to a million people watching your every Tweet is that, when you say something embarrassing or stupid or churlish, the volume of your proclamation is amplified exponentially.
Fry recently - and very publicly - announced that he wasn't going to play the Twitter game any more, because one anonymous and random 'follower' had suggested that he was 'a bit boring'. A few hours later, Fry returned to Twitter to find many thousands of fans begging him not to go, salving his ego and saving the day.
We can't help thinking that Fry, who has championed Twitter from its very earliest days, would share our opinion of the Twitter Peek.
"My dear boy," we like to imagine he would say, "why on earth would I lower myself to clacking away on this ugly plastic monstrosity when I have a perfectly delicious Iphone nestled cosily in the confines of my elegantly-tailored trouser pocket? Now off with you, you ruffian."
If after all that you're still convinced, and you live in America, you can grab a Twitter Peek here. µ