For those who’ve been sleeping under an elephant this year, today is the day Scotland is given the chance to rise up and take control of its future, the chance to say “Goodbye, Tories!” and distance ourselves from right-wing nonsense like UKIP.
But what does that have to do with Mobot, Curdie? Quite a lot, Jeeves. Quite a lot. Join me below as I sing the praises of mobile phones and social networking, a glorious wee tag-team that’s played a major role in the referendum debate over the past few weeks.
The Facebook mobile/desktop divide is something like 70/30, while Twitter is crazier still at 90/10, so clearly mobile phones play a huge part in the sharing of information in space year 2014AD.
But it goes beyond that; it’s not just about sharing links and hitting the Like or Favourite button. Mobile phones are being used to create the news – not just share it.
Edward “Ed” Miliband took to the streets of Scotland last week, naively believing that his mere presence – his sheer charisma (calm down, ladies) – would be enough to sway voters. Oh, how wrong he was.
Enter: some fantastic lunatic on a rickshaw, who pursued the Labour convoy through Glasgow while blasting The Imperial March from Star Wars, all filmed on – you guessed it – his mobile phone. It’s had over 400,000 views on YouTube.
Getting significantly more political, we turn to Paisley, and Nadia (22) and Ovinda Howard (23), two good-natured sisters who became overnight sensations after questioning “Wee Eddy” on the street.
The Labour leader managed to say “Hello” – and only “Hello” – before standing in stunned silence, leaving his cronies to do all the talking. Tiny wee Ovinda (she’s only 5’2”) asked about child poverty and Trident, and literally had them on the run after 90 embarrassing seconds. Ed’s face was a peach.
Again, the whole thing was captured on a mobile, and spread like wildfire over Facebook and YouTube.
At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the unashamedly biased mainstream media. Considering only the Sunday Herald openly favours independence, it’s a miracle we’ve reached the stage where it’s too close to call. With all the blatant lies and propaganda, it feels very much like some horrible dystopian future – but it’s the PRESENT. It’s happening right now.
But again, mobile phones and social media are playing their part; we’re not just taking the TV and papers at their word. Indeed, my Facebook News Feed has resembled some alternative news channel over the past few weeks. Truth TV, perhaps.
Take last Saturday, for example. While hundreds of people peacefully gathered in Buchanan Street, the Beeb decided to focus on the loathsome, backwards, should-be-a-thing-of-the-past Orange Order walk through Edinburgh.
A cursory nod was given to the Yes camp in Glasgow, but the BBC managed to find a few motley stragglers, the crew seemingly oblivious (yeah, right) to the party happening just a few yards away (comparison pic on Wings Over Scotland).
But that’s ok, because the real news – those inspirational mobile pictures from Buchanan Street (don’t forget those Instagram filters) – flooded Facebook and Twitter.
And yet more pictures flooded Facebook and Twitter the following day when the Yes movement staged a protest outside the BBC’s Glasgow building – largely in response to the Alex Salmond/Nick Robinson fiasco. A more aggressive country might’ve ripped that building to pieces, but I’m happy to say there was no trouble and there were zero arrests.
We’ve also had people using their mobile phones to record and share footage from their televisions, again exposing the woeful – downright insulting, at times – one-sidedness.
I’ll be damned if I can find it right now, but the BBC mysteriously lost their feed when some Yes signs appeared among a No gathering, only to return when they’d moved on. “Can we go back to…? I think we can…? Can we go back…?” Heaven forbid you would show what’s really going on.
And just yesterday, Kay Burley accidentally described a Yes voter as “a bit of a knob”, before suggesting that Yes peeps were campaigning “against England”. I don’t even know where to begin with that.
Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is your news in the 21st Century. Thank the techno-Gods for mobile phones.