The tweeting in the middle of the night (UK time), from the safe non-insomnia of the Australian afternoon, was quite a successful experiment, I think. Lots of people got involved, some of them finding relief from lying open-eyed in bed, some thoughtfully taking time off from trivial stuff like ambulance control rooms or in one case appendix surgery. A few people stayed up specially to be part of the dealing-with-your-sleeplessness community, which is a bit like when you used to try and get ill at school because you liked the nurse. What with this, we managed to ‘trend’ for about an hour, which Twitter users will know is the ultimate stamp of approval, means that you are one of the big ‘memes’ of the online fraternity, and also carries a cash prize of £5000. Not really. But it was nice. So, Wide Awake With Watson (colloquially, #WAWW) is something I might well return to. At first glance it appeared that a lot of followers had unfollowed me, but it’s since been shown that most of them were ‘bots’, in other words they never quite existed in the first place. So that’s fine.
Sorry if Twitter is of no interest to you, but it’s hard to see what other interface would make something like this possible. You could live blog, but you’d have no way of responding to people, so it would be more of a monologue. Or I suppose you could send several thousand text messages but that has its drawbacks too.
I guess people who are anti-Twitter don’t really dispute that it’s a clever way of contacting other humans, they just deny that it is worth doing at all. Which is an argument that’s difficult to win. But for the rest of us, I hope that #WAWW will now become such a phenomenon that everyone in the country stays up for it, the sleep patterns of a whole nation are ruined, and productivity slumps. Then in the long run we’ll remake ourselves as a nocturnal society and we’ll be far MORE productive because we’ll have been rejuvenated. That’s the way out of this recession. It starts here.