Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Waiting for the itch

Exactly seven years ago, i signed up on Twitter having no idea what it was all about. It had a famous character limit of 140 which i found exciting. I simply took it up as a challenge to condense my thoughts within the available space. My initial followers were some random “gay” bots from Australia. To make matters worse, i used to reply to them thinking they were for real. It took me a while to figure out what a bot was. This was way before i turned into one. But more interestingly, i was thrilled to be sharing a platform with the who's who of the world. My favourite Hollywood stars, footballers and other global personalities had Twitter handles. Wow. It was being invited to a VVVVIP party. Like a moron, i was shooting them tweets hoping they will read it. I wasn't expecting replies from them. My expectations have always been lower than my self-esteem. I remember once congratulating Stephen Fry on something, once XOXO-ing Monica Bellucci's fake account and once telling Dalai Lama that he was absolutely right! 


I often used to disagree with Deepak Chopra and made no bone about displaying my opinions in public. Taslima Nasreen once suggested that she'd love to adopt me. OK, she didn't. But she said something to the effect of becoming rich enough one day to let me tweet carelessly the way i did. She was one of the last Twitter folks i spoke to before turning silent in 2010. I used to converse with non-celebs. A lot, actually. About movies, music, football and life in general. Fortunately, i never got into an argument with anyone. Was too lazy to do that back then. Am too laziest to do that right now. Some things don't change. What really changed though is i don't attract trolls like i did back in '12 and '13. Maybe they've realized that there's no point nitpicking. Nobody wins in a battle involving me. Not me. Not them. What also changed is the way Twitter is functioning today, especially in our country. During my early days, there was a Christmasy positive spirit throughout the year. Brand contests were just picking up. People weren't into politics and used to have random conversations dictated by the trends in the West. Nowadays, Twitter India is more desi. There's a clear balance. If there are SRK fans hosting fanaticism on one hand, then there are Sallu fans on the other. The same is true for political party supporters. There are liberals as well as bhakts. The habit of labelling people just because they don't agree with your views is also fast catching steam. The level of humour is also swinging nicely. Of course, American tweeps can't be beaten when it comes to jokes written in English. One of the main reasons why this is so is, an Indian tweep would be more comfortable RT-ing a random Umreeki guy than an Indian one. There is a fetching circle within which most tweeps operate. I-scratch-your-back-and-you-scratch-mine attitude is in full display. Which is why even the most celebrated Indian tweeps aren't going global as such as their finest tweets remain within the pre-ordained circle. The easiest route out is to stay away from these circles like i do but your reach will be heavily compromised. Are you prepared for that? If yes, don't expect logic behind everything you read. You are better off on the other side. No, not with Adele. 

Speaking of the other side, i finally signed up on Instagram and Snapchat in 2015. For somebody who works in the social media sector, i'm damn slow. However, everyday is a lesson for me in how human behaviour is ridiculously different after the login button is hit. I see how people turn funny or righteous just because they believe their online avatar demands so. If you try to break the mould they'll mock you. An Akshar can't tweet philosophical stuff even if he wants to. He has to stick with awesome graphics and lame puns. There's no scope for evolution per se. You aren't supposed to change. Your old forgotten tweets and FB posts won't let you. Look at me. I haven't changed either. I was tad boring on the evening of December 29th, 2009. I still am. 

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