Year 2012 belonged as much to Facebook fracas (of the Palghar and Northeast exodus fame) as it did to controversies that were too tweet to be untrue. The social media saw, even invited, so much action that the new writing on the Wall was there for everyone to read, and for the state machinery to stall.
Here are some movers and shakers from GenNet, who earned their 15 minutes of fame on Twitter & Co by trending, though not always with a happy ending:
Ek Tha Nephew
Twitter staged an India-Pakistan action thriller of its own, with a script that had shades of cross-border antagonism, a la 'Ek Tha Tiger'. The protagonist of the Twitter script was none other than southern left-hander Suresh Raina, who first gave a taste of bye-lateral dialogue by waving back mockingly at a jeering Pakistani audience during the India-Pak clash at the T20 World Cup. Later, he took a shot at some Indo-Pak rhetoric through his tweet about Pakistan's defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the T20 semifinal: "Ek do din late gaye ghar!!!! Woh bhi besharam ki tarah gaye... Bye bye Pakistan!!!!"
When the tweet triggered a storm among the followers of the "gentleman's game", it led to a shifting of blame. The villain of the script turned out to be a chit of a fellow, on whom a defensive Raina blamed the "offensive" tweet. "Smart phones r dangerous. Discovered it last night after my nephew posted random tweets …!"
Smart phones or phoney excuses?!!
Best "score" of the year: "Laapata" (Inspired by his trending tweet that got the delete).
What is the best way to avenge an exile that may have been due to being caught on a sticky wicket after trying to bait a parliamentarian with a penchant for the bat? Taking tweet revenge.
And no one did it better than human resource development (HRD) minister of state Shashi Tharoor's banished bête noire Lalit Modi, living an exiled existence in London. When BJP biggie Narendra Modi sparked off a verbal tsunami by calling Tharoor's better half Sunanda Pushkar a Rs 50-crore girlfriend, the ripples found a resonance in the other, distantly positioned Modi, who was out of sight but certainly not out of slight. On Twitter, that is.
For, on getting wind of Narendra Modi's Sunanda slight, Lalit Modi was quick to double the 50-crore "tag" on Twitter, as though he were doubling the prize money on KBC.
Modi thus not only hit back at Tharoor but also earned his 15 minutes of fame and how!
Blockbuster of the year: The 100-crore "hit"!
What is the most fashionable thing to do these days for the common man concerned about corruption all around? He can either do an Arvind Kejriwal, by bringing down political reputations faster than Monty Panesar brings down India's batting line-up. Or he can do a Baba Ramdev, wherein the anti-corruption public posture is shaped less by spiritual leanings and more by a political ambition that grows faster than the curly mop on the seer's scalp. Else, the commoner can simply let tweets do the talking.
And so, inspired perhaps by the expose on Robert Vadra's "unreal" growth of real estate, Ravi Srinivasan, a small-time businessman from Puducherry, tried to do a Kejriwal on Twitter.
Srinivasan's tweet talked of corruption in high places, and in particular of a spectacular "son rise" on our political firmament. "Got reports that Karthick Chidambaram has amassed more wealth than Vadra," read his Twitter tirade against union finance minister P Chidambaram's progeny.
He may only have been trying to raise the bar, for the Kejriwal brand of political expose, but all that Srinivasan managed was to land himself behind bars.
Best dialogue of the year: "Don't angry me!" (P Chidambaram to Srinivasan).
Undoubtedly, the social media was where the action was in 2012. If certain parliamentarians were not airing their lungs in Central Hall, they were busy exercising their thumbs texting tweets on the cyber Wall. If celebrities were not putting their best foot forward elsewhere, they were busy putting their foot in the mouth on Twitter.
Season 2012 saw this more-the-merrier social media space get heavier, what with Shahenshah of Silver Screen Amitabh Bachchan, God of Cricket Sachin Tendulkar and "Dabangg" Salman Khan making Facebook forays with official pages.
But with a certain political heavyweight also stepping on to the social media stage, the situation called more for reading between the lines than reading the writing on the Wall.
For, the debut by Didi gave Facebook its own flavour of a filmi script: "English Banglish".
Best debut of the year: Mamata Banerjee with the script, "Why FDI, not 'the' FDI?"
The writer is a Chandigarh-based columnist