It has changed the world; it has creatively challenged every form of media; it dispenses news and information faster than any other media; it has been the backbone of revolutions and social change across the world; it has spawned a new culture; it is a great leveller; it has bridged the gap between celebrities and fans; it’s... well, it’s a long list of greats. Yet, with all this jaw dropping stuff that the 140 character revolution has archived, Twitter does have some truly gut-wrenching irritants.
Let’s start from the basics. The abuse of Twitter by people who use it in ways no other human can endure.
To the Forever Status Updater: Do we really need to know when you got up, what you’re feeling every 10 minutes, your goal for the day, your to-do list, what you ate, a photo of everything you ate, how you’re driving and tweeting (!!), what song you’re listening to, a shortened url of that song on YouTube (!!), where you are now, where you were before, where you’re going to be in the next 10 minutes? Stop! We get that you’re with it and cool and also great at fiction-writing and have invented a life that doesn’t exist.
To the New Crap Language Inventor: Yes, Twitter restricts you to 140 characters and yes, it is sometimes tough to express yourself in that many words. But do you have to pulverise the language to little bits and pieces, use slang and abbreviations to the point of insanity and add acronyms and phonetics that make no sense to anybody but to yourself? No wonder you have just five followers – nobody understands what you’ve been tweeting for the last one year! Uhvgt2stprgnw.
To the #Hashtag Army: Agreed, hash-tags are a powerful way of making something trend, to get people unified on a single topic, to make a point that the world is with you, to bring people together, to start a movement and a revolution. But could you desist from putting hashtags to complete nonsense, using a hashtag on four words in a single sentence, using it with words like #justsaying and #meloves and #itsraining? It will never trend, the world isn’t with you on that, it doesn’t make your tweet look cooler and yes, you do look and read like a fool. #youhavebeenwarned.
To the Blow Your own Trumpeteer: Come on, it’s Twitter, not a job application or a CV depository. Could you tone down your
digital profile to earth-terms and not fly in the stratosphere? Get off the poetic route, erase those lofty claims and stop making yourself sound like the second coming of Christ. No, you don’t have so many interests and you most certainly haven’t achieved so much. Also, those moody little philosophies of life and the little pieces of dark brooding advice you’re giving everyone in your profile – nope, not the right platform. An introduction, where you are from and a factual sentence or two about yourself is good enough. Let your tweets do the rest of the magic.
To the One-Way Celebrity:We know it feels good, we know it’s a ratification of your power and your fan base and we know that
having ‘followers’ in millions is just such a warm and fuzzy feeling. But can you treat them with some respect? Don’t start tweeting only when you have a new movie or a book or a TV show (guilty). Don’t treat it as a one-way broadcast street. Engage, interact and reply to some of the people going gaga over your spelling mistake-ridden, terribly formatted, grammatically incorrect tweet. And don’t disappear forever off Twitter and still give press interviews about how much you love the fact that you’ve got the sweetest followers who’ve helped you cross the 10 million mark.
To the Social Media Guru: Look, you may be a consultant to the top companies, you may be God in front of your little band of four people at home and you may well be the greatest thing since sliced silicon in your own eyes. Could you not dispense wisdom, advice and instructions in that rude and very stand- offish manner? Don’t tell people how to tweet, don’t correct them, don’t be the spelling police, don’t be the Twitter-usage mafia, don’t guide anyone and send out how-to lists, don’t be Big Brother and don’t sermonise and criticise one and all. You may know your stuff (I doubt that) but when you do what you do, you sound like a jackass on Twitter.
There are lots of other characters and characteristics on Twitter that universally cheese everybody off. RTing somebody’s tweet and cutting the original person out, using Capital Letters and shouting everybody out, abusing the Direct Message privilege and using it for marketing or self-promotion, keeping a running score of who you unfollowed and broadcasting it, using seriously abusive words in order to sound cooler than the rest, begging and imploring to be followed, ditto for asking for your tweet to be retweeted, name dropping, continuously reposting your tweets in the hope that more people respond and react and spending every waking hour on Twitter... it’s as silly and as embarrassing as it is in real life. You’ve got to have a real life to sound like you have an amazing life, even on Twitter. #justsaying :)
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet
Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni
- From HT Brunch, June 26
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