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“I can’t stand the confusion in my mind!”

There’s an episode in the third series of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer in which Buffy becomes infected with demonic blood and gains the demon’s ability to hear people’s thoughts. At first she finds this new power amusing, entertaining, even useful; but by the end of Act II, Buffy is overwhelmed by the cacophony of voices in her head and falls unconscious in the school cafeteria.

I was reminded of this when I happened upon Twittervision, which is a Google Maps/Twitter mashup tracking the latest tweets from around the world.

For those unfamiliar with Twitter, it’s a microblogging format — a standalone version of the status updates (in this case, tweets) you might have encountered on Facebook, for example. (You might, but probably won’t, be interested to know that my masthead is an RSS feed of my Twitter status.) It’s the very acme of Web 2.0 in that even if you could explain it to your parents, they would quite rightly perceive no useful purpose for it.

If everyone in the world had a Twitter account, Twittervision would be a veritable crystal ball for gazing into the zeitgeist; as it is, it’s a veritable monocle through which to scrutinise the thoughts and doings of about half a million computer nerds.

One day, of course, we will live in a world in which everyone’s thoughts — your thoughts, my thoughts, nerds’ thoughts — are broadcast to the internet before we’ve even had time to think them. And as we’ve seen with Facebook, today’s internet buffoonery is tomorrow’s answer to the prayers of advertising executives everywhere.