Renowned American Magazine, Times, has an yearly issue called ‘Time Person of the Year’ that features and profiles a person, group, idea or object that “for better or for worse, …has done the most to influence the events of the year.” A variety of people have adorned the cover of this annual issue – from Adolf Hitler, who needs no introduction, to George Bush, best described by this picture of his.
Traditionally the person who gets featured on the cover of this special annual issue is selected based on what the magazine describes as who they believed had a stronger influence on history and who represented either the year or the century the most. Starting 1998, to keep up with the Internet Era, Time shifted to an online poll. 1998 to 2013 also saw the advent of Social Media – Facebook, Twitter et al which have now become important tools used to make or break online opinions as well as reputations.
To select the 2013 Time Person of the Year, Time has struck up a partnership with a product company called Poptip through whom they would monitor Twitter for Tweets that include #TIMEPOY hashtag or mention @TIME, @TIME being the twitter handle for time magazine. Votes for 2013’s Time person of the year would be calculated exclusively based on the Twitter statistics gathered using Poptip.
This year, BJP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate Narendra Modi is among one of the several nominations for the Time Person of the Year. Not too long back in April 2012, Modi polled more negative votes (2,66,684) than positive votes (2,56,792) in a Time Poll for 100 most powerful people in the world. Not to be outdone this time round, Narendra Modi has employed his entire cyber army to build up a case for him being time Time Person of the Year (TIMEPOY). Part of this cyber army is a specialized group of twitter accounts who never rest, they tweet 24/7 – “I think Narendra Modi should be #TIMEPOY”. Lets look at a couple these twitter accounts.
The picture above portrays a classical case of Twitter Bots which have high number of tweets, very few or no followers. In this case, two distinct twitter accounts @GSanzgiri and @RiteshS36860061 also have exactly the same set of images! Twitter Bot Ramakant ‘Ji’ on the left hand side of the image first tweeted on 5:04 PM on 3 Dec, 2013 and since then Ramakant ‘Ji’ has been tweeting non-stop 24/7 asking the world to chose Narendra Modi as the Time Person of the Year. Luckily for Ramakant Ji, he doesn’t need to eat/sleep/excrete like normal humans do.
On the other hand, we have some other interesting Twitter Bots who seem to have gone rogue, yes literally rogue. Even though they they follow Narendra Modi and only Narendra Modi, they don’t want Narendra Modi to be the the Time Person of the Year. For some reason, Twitter bot Rocky ‘Ji’ doesn’t like Miley Cyrus either.
Such is the ridiculousness of the times we live in that, now we have computer bots fighting over whom to chose as the ‘Person of the Year’.