Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Twitter ki haseen duniya

In the past few days I have been reading and hearing a lot about twitter. Barkha Dutt hosted a show on "We the people(tweeple)" (too lazy to put the link) where people discussed what's ethical on twitter, whether twitter can be regarded as an alternate form of journalism, whether twitter is invading our privacy, and of course Chetan Bhagat cribbing about how he was wronged etc. Then there were a few people who went on a Twitter detox. They stayed away from twitter for about 15 days. All these people went on a detox because of various reasons. But some of the reasons were really lame like

  • We were first to join twitter
  • We used to have intellectual conversations on twitter and now it's just noise
  • Twitter is invading privacy

I am no brand ambassador of twitter, but being in the Internet Industry and also following social-media closely , let me tell you how I feel.

Twitter is the new age journalism : People say that twitter is not credible enough. But you got to realize that it's an individual who builds credibility. If I am a budding journalist and I keep on pushing good content/news on twitter, people will start following me. Yes, there is a lot of noise, but that's the beauty of twitter. It's your prerogative to follow the right kind of people for a particular subject(in this case news). People have an issue with false breaking-news (especially local news) published on twitter by individuals. But again you got to realize, it's just a starting point of a news. If I tweet that there's a fire in the next building, you are not supposed to believe me. Instead you have got a lead, you need to verify the fact through other sources.

Also, it works as a great tool to market your blogs, flickr albums, graphic art etc. There are no strict rules to define what qualifies as media. One-to-many flow of information has every right to be called a news medium.

Twitter ethics : I have argued about this a lot with friends and colleagues. General stance is that no one has the right to take a dig at some person (generally celebrities). But I say, my twitter account is my space. I haven't asked you to follow me. If you do , then you have no right to question what I tweet. The best moderation on Internet works on the fundamental principle of all users becoming moderators. WikiPedia is a success because the users make it a point to moderate what other users are writing. You cannot moderate everything on your site. Involve the users to report spam, and it works wonders. Similarly, on twitter if a guy keeps on cursing people, he will be shunned in general by all. So, don't be a moral police on Twitter.

As for the whole detox thing :

  • If you were the early twitter good for you. But yes, its not your own property. People will join , like it or hate it.
  • We used to have intellectual conversations on twitter and now it's just noise : Dude , I was a party to your conversation. Exchanging rhyming drunken tweets is not being intellectual. Chances of finding 10 intellectual tweets from 1000 users is much preferable than 2 intellectual tweets from 100 users. And I know what your problem is. You enjoyed the early-movers advantage and you enjoyed the twitter celebrity status. Now, there are many more tweeple who are more witty and and their tweets are much more informative. Accept that. Don't like it get out of twitter. As for the noise part, yes, that's bound to happen. But you should know the art of separating grain from chaff. If not, your loss. Also, if you don't like a celebrity tweeting about his toilet habits, don't follow her. It's your choice so learn to deal with it.
  • Twitter is invading privacy: Twitter is a platform. It's your choice to share what you want on twitter. You can control who wants to see your personal tweet. But if someone sees your tweet you don't have the right to complain. If you feel your virtual life is taking over your real life and friends, it's your problem and nobody else's. You have mixed your priorities. Don't find an scapegoat.

In all, Twitter is a medium. Enjoy it. Use it like the way you want to use it. Just like in life, be judgemental of your own tweeting habits and not of others.

MOTS: Jab tak meri jaan rahegi main tweetoonga