Pigspotter is dead. Long live pigspotting!

The vicious dragnet of the South African police force is closing in on @pigspotter, trapping him in a vice-like grip from which there is no way out. No, not really. But the Metro Cops are randomly checking various drivers’ phones around Jo’burg in the hope that they will find someone who looks like he could go by the name of Cliff.

In case you’ve been far, far away, Pigspotter is a Johannesburg-based Tweeter who has attracted the anger of the Metro Police by informing his 14 000 followers about the location of on-duty traffic cops, while insulting them at the same time. This dubious activity has attracted loads of attention and prodded the police into action in a bid to stop him.

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Clearly, there are not a lot of social media experts in the police force. If there were, they would inform the outraged cops that there is almost no point in going after @pigspotter. His concept has outgrown him. He may have invented the art of “outing” traffic cops on Twitter, but it certainly will not end when he is locked up and surrounded by his mortal enemies.

It’s a near certainty that the capture of the infamous pigspotter will spawn hundreds of replicas, each looking to boost his or her following in the same way that he has. And many of them are unlikely to honour the rules of engagement that our current Robin Hood has agreed to honour.

The masked crusader has undertaken not to report on roadblocks, recognising that they fulfill a reasonable and necessary role on our dangerous roads. But the new pretender to the throne may have no such qualms. He or she is likely to do whatever they can to achieve the levels of fame that his predecessor has reached.

When hand-held technology, cars, fame and breaking the law all come together in such a potent cocktail, there is almost no way that the police can win. What they need to do now is make a truce with @pigspotter, lay out the rules of engagement, then try and ignore him and pray that the tweeting public get bored and move on to something else.

But the idea that arresting @pigspotter will somehow make all of this go away is simply ludicrous. Once he is gone, a hundred pigspotters will rise to take his place.

The cat, or in this case, the pig, is well and truly out of the bag.

Click here for earlier Memeburn coverage of @pigspotter.

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