Twitter can be described as a hive mind. It's a real-time collective consciousness of its users. Some of those users are Oprah and Shaq. And many, many others are members of Anonymous, the loose-knit group of Internet do-gooders, pranksters, demons, and troublemakers who have famously taken on Scientology, hacked Sarah Palin's e-mail account, and saved a troubled cat named Dusty from his abusive owners.
Last month, Anonymous, via the dark recesses of its general Web HQ 4chan, invaded Time magazine's "World's Most Influential Person" to nominate--and then elect--4chan's founder "moot" as the title holder.
A few months before that the group invaded a message board dedicated to Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly, who then famously called them an "extremist far-left Internet hate group." Shortly after, it used the same tactics to troll Oprah into saying things they wanted her to on her show.
Now they're doing it again, using Twitter to promote their "queen," a teen YouTube sensation known as Boxxy, to a trending topic. A glance at Twitter's trending topics shows #boxxy at the bottom of the list, having just appeared.
As the Twitter bomb has just started, we can expect that to rise. It's not harmful and is really more of an interesting experiment in gaming systems, but it can get worse. The 4chan members of Anonymous are known for hate speech just for the sake of upsetting people, so if this is a successful troll, something truly troubling might be on the horizon.
Not that 4chan doesn't do some good. Indeed, the site is where things like Rickrolling, lolcats, and many other memes we see every day come from. In the end, they're in it "for the lulz" (laughing at someone else's expense over the Internet), and hopefully that's all this is.
Editor's note: Under no circumstances can we recommend visiting 4chan. It will melt your brain, make you angry, and get you fired. And it might violate certain court orders.