This week, a couple of years ago, this picture simply titled, “Behold, a man who looks like a thumb” zapped around Twitter and instantly made everybody laugh. Inevitably it led to mainstream media coverage and 15 minutes of fame for he who tool the picture and the, er, “thumbman” himself (or were they one in the same?). Indeed, http://thumbman.net is still active today, although it appears to have sadly but inevitably jumped the shark.
What made this Twitpic so wonderful was the instant way it appeared, leapt into the popular social media culture of the time and then was re-posted a million times and activated those who were clever with photoshop to generate their own versions which kept appearing for months, most of which were equally funny on first glance. And all because of one photo which unintentionally came out to oddly depict a man who, well, looks like a thumb.
The other thing that the man who looked like a thumb represents is the fun side of social media. All too often social media is used for bullying or abuse or bad things. All too often this is what gets highlighted on mainstream media. Mind you, mainstream media has concerns. It is slowly being replaced by social media, so I guess it’s in its interest to promote the negative side of its competition.
It’s missing out on sharing the extremely belly-laugh fun that social media can bring when the people communicate directly with the people away from having the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ of a journalist and editor making decisions about what the people should and should not see.