It was dark. Trillian gathered her jacket around around her to keep out as much of the early March chill as she could and walked briskly, her heels tip tapping on the cold hard paving slabs. Above, a sodium streetlight flickered and buzzed ominously. Somebody had urinated against the wall and the smell of urine made her want to choke and vomit at the same time. Holding her scarf against her face she picked up speed to get past the odour.
A dog howled in the distance as a train clattered nearby. A lone police car sped past, its lights flashing. Meanwhile from the shadows eyes watched her. A rough and dirty hand with long ragged fingernails grasped an empty bottle. Trillian walked onward toward the railway bridge, unaware.
Trillian stepped onto the pathway underneath the railway bridge just as a train rumbled overhead, shaking the connectors loose on the lighting circuit. Wires dropped and dangled, sparking brightly as the lights died. She was in darkness. The smell of urine had become a lot stronger now
The smell of urine became almost totally overpowering and she could hear something shuffling and sliding toward her. She could not see where to run and stood, frozen in fear. Suddenly she heard a match being struck. A bright light flared. It illuminated a dirty, haggard face. Her pulse raced. Her heart was in her mouth. She was scared. She knew not where to run. A dirty hand grasped her wrist in an iron grip. A voice spoke. It was carried on a breath of alcohol and oral decay.
"This way Miss, lets get you onto the street. There's potholes in here." The voice said, bathing her in the fetid aroma of oral decay and alcohol. To that was added the scent of urine-soaked clothes and sweat that hadn't been washed off in months. As she was navigated with the aid of a series of matches she could hear the hobo's clothes making cracking noises.
They emerged on the far side of the tunnel, bathed by the light of a sickly blue neon sign. The grip on her wrist was released. She looked to see the face of the hobo. There was something familiar about the bloodshot eyes amidst the dreadlocked hair and the scraggly beard. "You look familiar" she said, looking the hobo up and down from his bare feet to his shiney combat pants and torn denim jacket. "Don't I know you?" she enquired.
Surprisingly, the hobo knew her name. "Trillian" he said. We used to visit the same Starbucks, five years ago. Suddenly she placed him "Jack Dorsey" she said - the guy that used to own Twitter before it was banned". He nodded. "Yes. After that, my empire crumbled, creditors demanded, shareholders demanded and I ended up with nothing. I've been on the streets ever since". Trillian remembered his disappearance which was tinged with regret because she owed him a coffee.
|The ruins of the Twitter empire|
The US was the last to implement regulation and control over Twitter users who by now were being rounded up by government detention squads for anti-governmental tweets in many countries. Slowly over the course of about two years, Twitter began to lose users. By the end of the second year, Twitter's user base was so low that advertising revenue ceased.
Trillian remembered the day when her Twitter account finally started coming up with an error about the service being unavailable. She had used Twitter for her photo blog. She had built up with automated follower adders about 15,000 followers over several Twitter accounts. Each account had been broadcasting the address to her photo blog. An extra account had been used to update her photo blog as a live feed with input from Foursquare. She'd used Twitter to update her Facebook account and of course her Foursquare updated Facebook via Twitter too. Suddenly all that stopped. The Twitterverse was silent.
Trillian worried about the impact this would have on her blog - not being able to reach new readers via Twitter; not being able to update her blog with a live feed. For days she was panic-stricken and watched her blog hit figures avidly. When were the figures going to drop? When was her advertising revenue going to be affected. How were people going to find her blog without Twitter? The questions raced through her mind.
A van pulled up almost silently appearing like a ghost from the darkness. The engine was off, the doors were open, the lights were off. Men in dark overalls and masks piled out and grabbed Jack Dorsey. In the dim light, Trillian recognised the men as being part of the President's special operations executive who had been tasked with rounding up undesirables. "You never saw us" a voice hissed at her as one masked man shook his head and another drew his finger across his throat as though it was a knife. She shuddered in fear. She knew what that meant.
Trillian walked away from the bridge, wrapping her coat still tighter around her. Memories flooded back. She remembered how she could find no effect of not having her photo blog advertised on Twitter. There was no increase in traffic despite the 15,000 Twitter followers. Indeed she suspected that most if not all of the 15,000 followers were actually just bots. Checking her page hits she found nobody really went to the contact page where her Twitter feed was located. Indeed she calculated that only 0.01% of her total all time photo blog visitors has ever visited the contact page. The vast majority of those she suspected were her own hits from checking how her pages looked.
Trillian pondered for a moment, as the rain that had begun as a mist a few moments earlier turned into a steady drizzle that quickly soaked her hair and began to run down the back of her neck. Twitter hadn't got her any web traffic despite the phenomenal number of followers she'd had. Twitter as a feed had not generated more than one contact enquiry. She began to wonder whether Twitter ever really had any purpose behind it. Indeed, she really wondered whether any of the effort she had put into something that had looked so promising had been worth the bother.
Trillian reached at long last the stairs to her apartment complex and entered out of the rain. Did she really care that the renowned head of Twitter had been rounded up by a goon squad? Not really, she decided. She had put Twitter on because it was there. It had soaked up a lot of her time and had got her no profits nor even any increase in readership. Trillian entered her apartment for the night.