“Spime” is a new word. It is a product of a digital community collectively updating and sharing information in real time. In other words, when something happens, people report it for the world to know. While the concept of constant and immediate reporting of information might be scary to some, especially with in light of the NSA mobile phone monitoring scandal in 2013, people contribute to spime in a much more innocuous way – through social media. The hashtag, which has its beginnings on Instagram and Twitter, but was eventually adopted by Facebook as well, is a categorization tool for all posts and a major player in contributing to spime of current events.
Twitter’s “Discover” tab allows for users to see what is trending by the website/app sharing the hottest hashtags at the time. By clicking on a hashtag, one sees a live feed that is constantly updated as more tweets including the same hashtag come in. The tweets contain facts, opinions, musings, pictures, videos, and other information regarding the hashtag, therefore providing a complete picture of an event from start to finish, or as long as anyone is tweeting about it.
- Live tweeting – deliberate contribution to spime
The act of someone single-handedly tweeting stream-of-consciousness musings of an event as it occurs is known as “live-tweeting.” Live tweeters range from sassy self-appointed internet comedians to reputable news outlets who attempt to create spime all on their own, either for the amusement of their followers or to provide news updates as they break. The more they tweet, the more the Twitter community learns about an event.
Hashtags and live tweeting allow for people to stay in touch with the issues that concern them. Spime is negatively portrayed in the context of the federal government and “Big Brother” – The plots for films like Enemy of the State (1998) and Eagle Eye (2008) show governmental powers using cutting-edge technology to control humans through constant observation, however these films are nothing but science fiction. On a more personal and realistic level, spime allows people to stay up to date on current events they care about. It allows for anyone and everyone to contribute to and gain from growing knowledge of anything. Live-tweeting has become so prominent that Twitter users could experience the Super Bowl or any other event very intimately just by checking his or her phone, despite the fact that users are most likely sitting on the toilet or procrastinating from work (the most common venues for checking social media use nowadays).
This connectivity – being able to visit Glendale, Arizona from the comfort of one’s bathroom, for example – speaks to the intimacy of the modern digital community. Sure, many Americans are afraid of the government having vast servers filled with personal information, but everyday Americans contribute to an event’s spime more than a government could possibly hope through their collective thoughts posted on social media.