There is this notion that we sell to ourselves. That Twitter is not all that, that Twitter is different from real life, that it is a separate entity all together. In fact, this notion comes with its own mantra ‘It’s never that serious’.
But it is, that serious.
When you spend a few hours everyday looking at a screen, boxing at a keyboard- things are bound to get serious. Surprisingly, the issue of anonymity is why people think that twitter isn’t as serious but look at it this way; If you are spending about 4 hours a day in a n environment where you feel least susceptible to judgment and your identity is as concealed as you would desire, wouldn’t you feel most comfortable to be yourself. I mean, you could turn into the girl that shares motivational quotes every three minutes or the prick that says insensitive things just for the heck of it; and actually get away with it; so you do it. This is what has led me to believe that twitter is just a reflection of what society is all about, when the pretenses are pulled aside; you get to see the bad, the good and even some bizarre. Here is what I am talking about;
There is a man from Nakuru County that uses twitter as a means of community policing and leadership. Chief Kariuki (@ChiefKariuki) basically tweets about urgent matters in his locality and mobilizes his people into action. From simple matters as theft of a goat to a fire in a homestead. Why amazes me most is how effective his use of twitter is. He will tweet about a problem and then come back in about an hour, sometimes less, and tweet that the problem is now solved. And you realize that he did not solve the problem by himself; people that say his tweet helped. It’s what Nyumba Kumi should have aimed at.
Now, if Chief Kariuki has not insiperd you here is something that might. On the 14th of February 2015, a JKUAT student went missing at around 11am. By the following morning, her whereabouts were still unknown, so her friends/family start tweeting about it and she is found. Apparently, she had been involved in an accident and admitted into hospital.
These are not just isolated cases. We have had blood drives championed through Twitter (remember We are One?), campaigns like the ongoing #SaveaMum #HandsOffOurElephnats, #OkoaMzeeOjwang, #BabyNjeri and countless others.
When something crucial happens in your life you turn to the places you spend most of your time at for support; twitter does come through.
Sometimes something, dark forces perhaps, comes into the twitter streets and turns the residents into ugly beings. Or maybe they just have happen to have bad sides; whichever the case, twitter like any other community is not always about rainbows and walking on sunshine- bad experiences occur here too.
A while back, a photo of an entertainment reporter from Kiss 100 was put up online. She is plus size, there is nothing wrong with being plus size, but on this day twitter masses were in an uproar going on and on and on about the reporter size. Jibes and memes and insulting tweets were flooding the social network. It was ugly, not just because it went on for days but because cyber bullying is bad and potentially harmful; it doesn’t matter if the victim is a public figure.
Ever had one of those experiences where you are trying to do a good thing but the reception blows up in your face? Singer Avril had one of those earlier this year. You would think that having a celebrity post a photo of her experiencing an acne break out would sensitise people on the issue or at least start conversations on the whole problem but no. the twitter population decided they would rather take the petty road on this one and just hate. Pretty sad really because acne is not a problem that is exclusive to Avril or will go away tomorrow; for as long as skin exists then acne is here to stay.
It was also a failure for brands that specialize in skincare. There are numerous ways they would have shaped the conversation and perhaps sold a bit of stock while at it.
Somethings are just too difficult to understand. Case in point; catfishes. Now, after several movies and series I have a little grasp on identity theft but the catfish concept still escapes me. basically, catfishes set up accounts using false identities. The idea here is to get into deceptive online romances.
It is not the idea of seeking romance while in disguise that puzzles me, because let’s face it self esteem issues are a reality. It is the fact that most of these catfish accounts are actually set up by men pretending to be women.
I personally do not have a problem with males that identify as female, but there are healthier ways to go about it. Duping people shouldn’t be what you result to. Speaking of duping, is it not interesting that catfishes somehow always end up in some tragedy that sees them call for a fundraiser and end up having their identities unearthed?
Now, we cannot talk about catfishes and not fail to talk of men and women; relationships.
I think people find their partners wherever they spend most of their time, consequently, if you are spending about four-six hours a day on twitter, chances are that is where your romantic interests will take root. There is no shame in using twitter as a dating site.
But before it graduates to dating, it starts with thirst traps, photos of beards and belly buttons that were taken and uploaded with a single intention- ADHD manifestation. And then right after Direct Messages have been sent back and forth, an exciting stage exists. It is called the tweetup. Just incase you live under a rock and have no idea what a tweet up is; I will be gracious- a tweet up is a meeting of twitter of twitter followers that have not met before. It is characterized by calling each other by your twitter handles. Posing for photographs to post on your Instagram accounts, oblivious that the whole coffee house is watching you. Yes, tweet ups happen more often than not, in coffee houses- how else do you prove that you are a cool being?
Sometimes tweet ups turn into relationships and you will be subjected endless photos in various stages of PDA. But the party is not really complete until the couple breaks up and whoever is hurting the most starts ‘Draking’ also known as kufungua roho every evening from 10pm, for about a week. Then they will spot a beautiful person on their timeline (hopefully not a catfish) and start planning another tweetup.
There is a lot more that goes on in Twitter, but there is only so much you can fit into a thousand words.