The Cambridge Geek

British Troll Farm

If, like me, you have a spent more time than is really healthy on Twitter, you've probably noticed a few odd accounts. These tend to have not been around for very long, might have not changed their username away from the default eight number suffix, and have a somewhat limited range of topics that interest them.

I'm speaking of course about bots.

Now, it can actually be quite hard (as a layperson) to determine which accounts are bots set up to intentionally disseminate a particular point of view, and which are just "useful idiots".

In our media, these are always framed as Russian bots, partly because the Cold War evidently never finished, but also because they're still the major threat in the world, with China being more of a commercial foe. Naturally, while Russia will have teams intended to present propaganda to the wider world that supports their position, every country has this in some form or another.

Ours is most likely run by "the Doughnut", but good luck getting a proper insight into what they get up to in there.

Instead, you might want to consider this show that gives a sneak peek into the Department for Social Media Trend Orchestration, whose remit is to try and influence what people think on Twitter. (I suppose all social media is fair game for this, but currently Twitter is probably the biggest game in town.)

Unfortunately, like many civil service teams assembled to work on behalf of the British Government in sticky situations (Bletchley Park, The Department of Capital Punishment or The War Office, it's entirely staffed by idiots or madmen.

Joshn, the manager, is that fast-tracked grad, promoted a bit too fast to a position he can't really fill, over a team he can't control. His natural talent for leadership luckily never comes to the fore. Under him are Phil, who can be summed up as "back in my day", Caz, the easily panicked and slightly psychotically keen one, and Bim, who is mostly competent but hates everybody.

They have two goals. Firstly, to get Russia to confirm that they did an illegal flyby of a British military asset, and secondly, to get people eating more plums. Joshn is mostly worried about the latter.

This show is probably best placed for those people who will be happy to do their best impression of Captain America saying "I get that reference". There's a lot here that's specific to the vagaries of Twitter, including a narrator dropping in with updates about the trending topics. Luckily, there's also enough general silliness about that it's enjoyable as a standalone.

And if you enjoyed it, go follow the Plums' Twitter Account.

Score 4

Tagged: Radio Comedy Cast Sitcom Workplace/Employment