Yesterday we were treated to the news that Madeleine had her own twitter account. The account was opened on June 30th 2007 – at 7.57am, someone was up early that day.
Twitter is the art of describing ‘what you are currently doing’ in 140 characters – not words – so txt spk is essential. It is Web 2.0, or ‘blogging’ for the text generation, a generation that apparently relishes the knowledge that when they ‘tweet’ – ‘just gone for a crap’, an army of devoted followers will be genuinely pleased to know that they too are human.
Britney Spears has a social media director to twitter, with input from Britney herself, her assistant, her publicist, and the rest of her entourage. Madeleine certainly has her own publicist, the inimitable Clarence MItchell, and a sizable entourage of family and friends, some of whom have given up their jobs in order to ‘search’ for her. You would imagine that she might have had rather more than the 147 followers who were listed as following her ‘tweets’. The essence of Twitter, so social media experts tell us, is to make a person appear ‘more human’. Certainly in the case of Maddy it is hard to believe that aged 4 or 5, depending on which particular version of speculation you adhere to, it is unlikely that she set up this account herself; by June 30th 2007 she had either been in the clutches of a paedophile gang, or sadly deceased, for over a month. Why would anyone have thought that a Twitter account was appropriate on her behalf?
By June 30th 2007 she had her own media lawyers watching carefully over her intellectual property, from the trade marking of her distinctive eye, to film and TV rights. The account linked back to a web page set up by friends of the parents to sell yellow rubber wristbands, so we can assume that the Twitter account had some form of official recognition. Certainly they have had over a year to discover its existence and request its removal. How strange then, that no sooner did Duarte Levy alert the world to its presence, than Twitter suspended the account overnight for ‘unusual activity’. Did Maddy suddenly ‘tweet’ something that affected National Security’? Did it suddenly cease to be a hidden enclave of private messages? Who were those 147 people who followed her as she precociously tweeted ‘I like Morocco’?
What other enterprises are out there in Maddy’s name? Will we learn that she has followed Britney Spears and now markets ‘Maddie’ the scent, a dab behind the ear and you can carry her scent with you everywhere; removable Maddie transfer tattoos for those who don’t want to disfigure themselves for life – she might be found after all.
Madeleine McCann has come full circle; she has now joined the ranks of vacuous celebrity, we can eavesdrop on every moment of her life or non life as the case may be. As with every celebrity though, we only learn what the army of managers wish us to learn, the version that best suits the marketing department; the private horrors, the gritty essence of the little person who was the catalyst for all this remains as hidden as ever.