Don’t believe the hype: Twitter, Mick Jagger and The Large Hadron Collider

Alastair Aitken 25 November 2013 0

Peculiarly, as an atheist, I can remember very clearly the day that my faith was shattered. My almost religious belief in science had been rocked to its foundations by the appearance in the day’s news of a picture showing Mick Jagger visiting The Large Hadron Collider. The only connection that I could see between a man who managed to cobble together the lyrics, “this coming and going is driving me nuts, this to-ing and fro-ing is hurting my guts”, and the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator was that it presented a sort-of-alright-ish photo opportunity for both the European Organisation for Nuclear Research and Polydor Records.

Imagine being a scientist, working day-in and day-out upon projects of genuine import; dreaming of, yet never being afforded, the opportunity of visiting CERN. Then you spy one of The Glimmer Twins spending a morning strolling around your personal Mecca. It must cause one to wonder: “if I want to visit The Large Hadron Collider, should I do some serious science or do I pick up a guitar, write some tunes and hope that I become an ageing rock star who’s been treading water for the past 40 years?”

Twitter as a business model

With its recent stock market floatation, media outlets that have been touting Twitter as some sort of business model for a new economy have had the wool pulled over their eyes – most likely by Twitter’s investor relations media team. The odds of someone creating a phenomenon like Twitter, Facebook or Google are as poor as the likelihood of winning X Factor. Talent doesn’t enter into the equation; happenstance, luck and who you know are far more important factors in determining success.

A more likely road to personal fulfilment is to do the job you love and do it well, accepting that you won’t be creating or working for one of the high profile tech firms because that’s not where the majority of the available work is. But that’s a story that does not fill column inches nor does it help shift stock in a business that has yet to turn a profit, or even convincingly outline how it intends to do so.

Bryan Ferry to the rescue

Perversely, my faith in mankind was restored by recalling the presence of mind that one member of the public had displayed when their flight from London to Nairobi in 2000 turned into a flight of terror. After a hysterical passenger had forced his way into the cockpit and attempted to wrestle the pilot for the controls, the plane started to dive towards the ground. But rather than be concerned with their own safety, this particular passenger had remembered that Bryan Ferry was on board and that it would make a great holiday snap to show the famously laid-back and sophisticated singer looking somewhat flustered and lacking the grace under pressure that his media team loves to project. That louche photo subsequently turned up in the popular press and struck a small blow against contrived media opportunities.


Alastair Aitken (124 Posts)

As a contract developer and manager I’ve worked in a wide range of enterprises in a variety of countries where I’ve encountered everything from great work, awful work, bizarre work, all the way down to quasi-legal work. If you think that you recognise your own organisation within my articles then you’re undoubtedly wrong, where you work isn’t that unique.

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