IF you want, I can take you to the place in north London where ‘the journalism’ happened. Prepare for a surprise: it’s just a simple front room sofa. But, yes, here, this is where the journalism magic unfolded.
This is where the Kim Sears swears vine was made.
I shouldn’t think it’d be breaking an industry code to tell you the secrets of how it all happened last week.
First, the BBC showed the Andy Murray tennis match on Thursday morning. His fiancée Kim Sears seemed to be shown swearing in the stands, possibly at Murray’s opponent Tomas Berdych but without any real aggression or menace. She was less bullying boss here, more a brand of that semi-comedy fuckety-fuck swearheli which slips from a lot of our mouths when a computer crashes, an engine stalls, you miss a bus, or you accidentally write teh instead of the.
I then, with the skill of a future Pulitzer winner, fearlessly re-winded the television using a Sky remote control and masterfully filmed parts of what had just been shown on the television with the camera on my phone.
A little while later, I posted it to Vine and Twitter, the social networking sites. A couple of people cooler than me re-tweeted it and… and… and the magic was done.
The Paul Foot Award for Journalism now surely awaits, for two days later this hastily-grabbed Vine, filmed off the telly, had been watched 11.5 million times. As one of the only clips of KIM SWEARS, it was embedded in 2,000 news sites.
And all of a sudden it wasn’t just a two second thing to smile at on the internet, but a news story. National newspapers may not have as many investigative journalists springing wrongly-convicted men from jail or exposing corrupt political power these days, but they sure do have people who can spot the joke of the day spreading across Twitter, and have the craft to swipe, embed, and write sharp copy about what they’ve swiped and embedded…. pssst, we’d do the same on the CNJ if it was related to the area.
The loops kept coming.
Andy Murray was asked about it in a press conference, the swearing, not the button-slapping process of making a Vine video. By the next day, Kim Sears was on the front page of nearly every paper: a storyboard of pictures across the top of the Guardian, a speech bubble effort for the Daily Mail.
It’s a funny thing: first, everybody loved it, and said it was hilarious. We learned a hundred times that Kim Sears had gone up in people’s estimations, comparing her animation to the wooden tops that used to sit in Tim Henman’s box.
Then, in the cycle of these things, bright sparks decide nothing is just as simple as chuckling at somebody theatrically swearing. It is racist. Or sexist. We wouldn’t find it funny, or for that matter outrageous, if it was a man swearing like a trooper in the relly’s box. I actually think the dinos who found the swearing outrageous, or unladylike, was the funny bit, but there you go.
And if there was a boyfriend or a husband of a tennis player screaming f-words, unable to keep their cool in the stands, yup – that would be interesting too. Rages in sport, both men and women, are interesting.
You can tie yourself up trying to be contrarian in a Twitter storm, trying to tell people what the real story is, when it might, you never know, just be something simple.
After all, we probably already knew, that when it is not harmful, brutish or bullying, or within earshot of the kids or people who are offended by rude language, a mass find swearing funny, especially when it seems absurd. Malcolm Tucker showed us that; same goes for the most famous clip in Fever Pitch.
Sears seemed to see the funny side too, turning up to the tennis final in her ‘parental advisory’ t-shirt yesterday. The sweary-potty-mouth label may follow her around for a bit. She doesn’t seem to give a…
And as for that Vine: there’s no money in internet hat tips, or loops on Vine.
If I had half a penny for every loop of Kim Sears swears Vine, the orange whips would have been on me.
People could say that it doesn’t matter, if the story spreads around and there’s the cartoon Osley avatar at the bottom of the footage embedded in big name news sites like CNN, the Guardian, the rest, I’m gaining profile and exposure which, in theory, will lead to exciting media opportunities in the future.
But in reality, hardly anybody who embedded it on their news sites will remember whose Vine they were using. It’s just grabbed, like the way I had grabbed it in the first place. Nobody is going to say: Richard’s been videoing his telly again, must watch out for him in the future. Let’s take a look at his stuff about council housing and Camden politics.
I’m not even saying there should be a halfpence for every loop. It’s not my footage for starters. It’s the BBC’s footage, or whatever Australian broadcaster was beaming it to them, and I just pressed a button on a phone.
But it’s a funny thing, isn’t it? That some swiped and embedded seconds on a Vine can spread like across the world at such pace, while a million challenging stories go unread.
Intrigued at how far the ’embed journalism’ had stretched, I later pressed delete on the post…