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Twitter Turns Five, Time for a ‘Documentary’

Wow. Twitter is five years old. Ready for kindergarten. Which is about the intellectual caliber of most tweets, mine included. Last week I sent out the following Tweet: "Just talked to the most pleasant AT&T cust service rep ever. Sounded like Mr. Garrison from South Park." I really tweeted that, feeling the world needed to know.

Twitter
Twitter

But Twitter at 5? Really?

I didn't sign on until late 2008.

What was it like in the beginning?

Ken Burns has decided to take a look back. Or maybe it's not really Ken Burns. It's definitely Funny or Die (Warning: language).

"Some would say Twitter was created on a children's playing ground," the documentary begins, using the type of voiceover and music Burns made famous in his film about the Civil War. This time, however, you don't have Sam Waterston as Abraham Lincoln, but somebody voicing the musings of "@ColonelThadiusKetchum" from way back in "the year of our Lord, two thousand aught seven". As for Twitter being created on a playground? "I'm inclined to believe them," the colonel says, "for are not wars but the games of children?"

Ray Wise plays a historian who explains how difficult it is to trace Twitter's exact roots, "because there were not nearly enough tweets about it at the time." However, he says Ashton Kutcher almost certainly invented the website. We then see a dramatic re-enactment of those early days, as celebrities tweeted their inane comings and goings and followers...followed.

One would think a funny video about a wildly successful social networking sitewould go viral. Peter Kafka can't understand why it hasn't yet.

Well, maybe because it's not all funny. Perez Hilton makes a cameo, along with rapper Soulja Boy, and now I know not to "follow" them for comedic chops.

Wise, however, steals the show. The veteran actor made me laugh, which is all the more remarkable because he will always be Leland Palmer to me, a man who did very bad things to his daughter, Laura, on "Twin Peaks". If you're too young to remember Twin Peaks, well, it's on Twitter, too.

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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