I come up with unwritten rules for Twitter. Got close to 200 now but they don't mean anything. Simply put, they are crappy statements based on observations but largely meant to be funny. Besides, who am i to set rules and that too unwritten (but actually written) for others to follow? The Internet and more peculiarly, Social Media, is supposed to represent freedom. And by that, i mean everybody should be allowed to express themselves (or not) the way they prefer. It's OK to pass judgements, just like it's OK to ignore judgements. It's a matter of choice. However, i've noticed a growing legion of the so-called social media "experts" who believe they can choose for the rest of us. They attend fancy conferences and bloggers' meet and pen books. According to them, we must behave in a certain manner when we are online. They set out rules in their articles and blog posts shepherding others to toe in. The word they binge on is engagement. Apparently if we are online, we should be chatting the shit out of each other. Otherwise, it's not worth it, they say. Going by the amount of rubbish that's out there on the Web all thanks to "engaging folks", i'd pass the offer. I wrote a post four years ago and then again last year on why the concept of online engagement is banal for the most part. Of course, i was defending my right to silence (read: laziness) there. Even today, nothing has changed for me. I don't care what others tweet. I don't give a damn whether people lick their mentions as long as they don't expect me to do the same. I choose to ignore mine because i don't believe in public discourse. A conversation is meant to take place between individuals in private. It's not a circus to be enjoyed by voyeuristic strangers. The same fundamentals apply to a discussion too. The problem with online world is too many people gatecrash a conversation, thus changing it into an unchartered discussion, which ultimately morphs into a circus. I like to think of the timeline as an overcrowded elevator where you're doing alright provided you're thinking to yourself. The moment you strike a conversation with your neighbour, you're basically hijacking the peace. Which again is fine to some extent but expecting everyone to chime in would be too much to ask for. Moreover, if everybody's going to talk, who's going to listen?