Tiger-Blood, Bi-Winning and Twitter

Has Charlie Sheen gone completely cuckoo?

What in the name of all that is Holy was he talking about? By now most of you will have either seen, or a least heard or read quotes from Charlie Sheen’s interview on ABC’s Good Morning America. [If you haven’t, watch it, it’s…. interesting, we’ll say]. He speaks very candidly, and also extremely erratically – you know what, it’s almost as if he were on drugs. The highest paid TV actor in the world doesn’t appear to have lost his marbles, it’s more like he didn’t even know he had any in the first place.

But for all of the cheap shots and poking fun at the nut-job, what he said actually made a lot of sense in a strange sort of way, and if heard at some sort of motivational seminar, wouldn’t have seemed totally out-of-place. The underlying impression I got from it, was of an extremely confident man, albeit a little unhinged, but someone who was clear in their mind about what they want to do, how they were going to do it, and had absolutely no fear of the consequences that may be faced by others.

Sheen’s sanity aside, one thing this little episode demonstrated was how quickly a global reaction can be caused, and how quickly and widespread it can manifest itself in an online world. When rambling on about his superior tolerances to certain illegal substances, the man reported to have slept with over 5,000 women (this was said in 2006, I shudder to think what it would be today) went off on a tirade about his own physiology, saying that he had “Tiger blood”. The phrase was an instant cult hit, and has since been trending on Twitter for days (#tigerblood). Other gems to come from the Platoon star, were terms such as “I might be Bi-Winning” (in response to the suggestion that he may suffer from bi-polar disorder), and described his brain as “firing in a way that is not from this, er, terrestrial realm”.

So what happens when you combine omnipresent success, feline haemoglobin and an alien brain? Over 1 million Twitter followers in 24 hours. To label an actor whose career spans more than 30 years an ‘overnight sensation’ would be a tad harsh. But in Twitter terms, that’s exactly what he is. Some people spend an agonising amount of building up their legions of followers, and others just have to sit back and watch the numbers tick over. Either way, all of it is held in someone else’s virtual hands.

Certain things are said on Twitter – or Facebook or any other online social medium – that can bring a smile to someone’s face. Whilst it can all be built up insanely quickly, it can likewise come tumbling down just as fast. Amongst all of the crazy words spewing out of Charlie Sheen’s mouth about his partying habits, a rather poignant sentence managed to slip through: “I may forget about them tomorrow [people encountered on an evening], but they’ll live with that memory for the rest of their lives”. Very true words indeed. But how long will Twitter or Facebook keep that memory?