Are you on Twitter? Nooooo! Oh my god… you are so last century. Get with the programme! Everyone who is anyone is on Twitter – from Obama to Britney, Ashton to Queen Rania. Then there are us normal folk – the non-celebs. But there are some twitterati that are now celebs either nationally, regionally or even globally just because of their tweets. It’s all great. Twitter is now a force to be reckoned with. I get my news from Twitter – when a cargo plane crashed in Dubai, it was a tweep (you seeing all the tweet language going on here), who tweeted they had seen the plane down. It was tweeps that tweeted from their flats in Silicon Oasis that saw it plummeting out of the sky. It was tweeps that took photos of the aftermath. The normal news broadcaster took an hour to confirm the crash. By then it was old news to the twitterati.
In 140 characters you can say how you feel, say how others feel or just write nonsense. It is self-indulgent, it can be factual, it can be faux and it is how we live our lives now. If I want to know something such as a word in Arabic, I tweet a request for a translation. If I want to know directions to somewhere, I tweet for help. If i’m late for a tweet-up, I tweet my lateness. Life now revolves around twitter.
Is it a bad thing? It can be. There have been articles written about how twitter has created a short concentration span for people. In my line of work, I need bouts of shortness to take me away from the hum drum of what i’m doing. In my breaks I can quickly scan the last 100 tweets and see the news and gossip in my twitter world.
But in a lot of ways twitter has given me a new lease of life in this city. I have made many friends through twitter who I might have known previously but now know intimately due to their tweets. I have made new connections in England, USA and of course Dubai. When I was in Mexico I was tweeted advice to stay away from the police in Tijuana airport and wished bon voyage from the terminal in Geneva.
I have also made several enemies. As in life, my tweets are not often self-censored. I swear, I sexualize (is that a word??) and I rant. People have been offended, people have been threatened (mostly by my vocabulary) and some have just been plain nasty and stupid which has resulted in them being unfollowed or even worse blocked. There are some tweeps who sound ok on twitter but you meet them in real life and they are god-awful humans.
The problem with twitter is what I like to call the Twitter mafia or bandwagon that now exists. There has been many a time; I will unfollow someone due to their tweets being completely and utterly boring, childish or just plain nasty. I will get told off by other tweeps for not following them. Yes, I’m sure they are lovely in your eyes, but in my opinion they suck. But there are some people who find it hard to accept my choice in following and unfollowing tweeps. Twitter is supposed to be your choice. It’s your account; it’s your timeline, so why should I follow someone just because you think that underneath their pathetic exterior that they are amazing people internally. I don’t see it.
The other Twitter Mafia occurrences are during political moments. If you don’t follow the same tune as everyone else, like for example in Egypt, you were slaughtered or ridiculed for your beliefs. I’m not a political person and if I am it’s mostly confined to discussions with close friends or my head. However, during this time of unrest I have tweeted a few times about things going on at the time or retweeted tweets of interest to me. I remember I questioned, that if Mubarak left now what would happen to the country. Wouldn’t it be better if he stayed and there was a proper transition of power? That idea was shot down as ridiculous. How dare I voice my concern for the country and not follow everyone to get rid of the man!?! Now with Libya exploding through our eyes, I am trying to keep schutum. It’s a terrible and worrying situation but I’m retweeting from the BBC when it’s an interesting point, otherwise I’m ignoring the tweets and reading about London Fashion Week (so glam this season).
Twitter is a useful tool for commercial enterprises and it is still astonishing how many companies don’t use it in the correct way. There are entrepreneurs that have communicated like human beings with their (potential) customers and ended up having strong support for their ventures. Their success has resulted in new ventures trying to do the same thing but failing. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery; but when you don’t do it properly it just makes me not want to buy from you.
Then there are certain groups of tweeps that will just go on and on about one company for ages. It’s obvious you are getting paid to promote them or that you trying to get free stuff from them. It irritates me that people can be so shallow but I guess twitter mirrors human nature – in 140 characters.
The new thing now is to have a twitter account and a blog. You are no one if you don’t have a blog. Now you may say you can talk shelo, you have both. Correct, but have you seen how many tweets I have written?? Many tweeps complained that I was taking up their timeline with my rants/tweets and that it would be best if I consolidate it into a blog. So I created my blog. Of course I love it that people read my tweets and also my blog, but both forms of communication have been started by me for my own narcissism. I love writing and used to be one of those girls with the fountain pen and book, writing all the time. Then I lost my mojo – Twitter and blogging brought it back. Now instead of writing in books for myself to read and cringe at later, I write and allow others inside. If you read my tweets and blog, you read. If not, I have my musings in an electronic form to retain and pass onto future generations. Now that can’t be a bad thing…can it?