Twitter is a large source of things that mentally antagonise me. Today, I saw people tweeting “Happy Birthday” to boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali, however, has unfortunately been dead since 3rd June 2016. Hence, Muhammad Ali no longer has birthdays, as harsh as I know that sounds. The whole idea of wishing a Happy Birthday to a celebrity who is no longer alive, especially in cases like this, smacks of favourite and retweet-hunting at the expense of someone else’s memory, and as such, is quite poor form in my book.
The insincerity that oozes from these posts is so blatant. The people posting them are looking to boost their following by going for the most popular and recently deceased celebrities they can. You know who else was born on this day, years ago? Vidal Sassoon. Al Capone. Benjamin Franklin. Anne Bronte. Who’s tweeting Anne Bronte, wishing her a Happy Birthday? No-one, because it doesn’t make any sense to tweet that. Just like it makes no sense to tweet about Ali, as good a boxer as he was.
This happens periodically when the birthday of a recently-deceased celebrity comes about, and it really grates on me every time I see it happen. What makes people think, regardless of where Muhammad Ali’s spirit is now, that he would be trawling through Twitter to see who’s still wishing him a Happy Birthday? It makes no sense. And it’s not even like it’s providing comfort to the people tweeting. These aren’t family members or close friends, certainly in 99.9% of cases. These are random people, probably with only a passing interest in boxing anyway.
Twitter is good for a lot of things, but it’s also bad for just as many things. These dead-celebrity birthday commemorations sit alongside the likes of #MondayMotivation, #WednesdayWisdom, #FridayFeeling, and #HappyHumpday. They rub shoulders with the motivational “quote”, superimposed over a beach sunset scene, attributed to “Anon” because no-one actually said it. They are an imposition on my Twitter feed, and a general annoyance to me and (surely…probably) many others.
Not that I’m one to preach about social media content really. Who actually wants to know about how excited I am that Everton just slapped Manchester City at the weekend, 4-0? In the end it’s a bit of an each-to-their-own situation. A live-and-let-live. But it’s so annoying. So very annoying.