On a fateful night two years ago I have absolutely no recollection of, I joined the “microblogging” site popularly referred to as Twitter. Little did I know that when I filled in that form with my details and clicked on “Create my Account”, my life would be changed forever.
Before I joined twitter, I was just like you. I foolishly thought that I had my life all figured out, thanks to the secret of life revealed to me in the book, The Secret. If all I had to do to make things happen was to WISH for them, I could do that all day long. So I quit my job and spent my days wishing for things. When after a few months nothing happened, I began to question my worldview. One particularly tough night, after spending hours wishing for a measly glass of Rum & Coke, I realized that the Universe wasn’t really listening to me. It was probably spending it’s time paying attention to some malnutritioned African kid and serving him MY rum & Coke. It dawned on me that the universe was a socialist with a bleeding heart and an NPR tote bag!
So it was up to me to look after myself. I bought a bootleg copy of The Fountainhead (free markets FTW!), and spent the next month reading it (have you seen the size of that damn book?).One day, the ghost of Ayn Rand appeared in my dreams and asked me to sign up for twitter. The ghost also asked me to lend it some money, because apparently, the shops in hell are a little expensive, being monopolistic enterprises and all. I realized that Ayn was testing me and refused to lend her ghost any money. In fact, I told Ayn’s ghost the same thing Ayn would tell a bearded 90 year old man who just lost his life savings in the stock market, “Get a job, whiskers!”.
Now, unbeknownst to me, Twitter was a treasure trove of wordly knowledge. It had the wisdom of Socrates, the catchiness of Confucius, the gimmickry of Yoda and the cultural relevance of Lady Gaga. So when my life changed for the better, I thought I had to share the secret with the rest of the world, as all enlightened beings are supposed to.
Here’s a gist of all the knowledge I was able to amass:
1. The art of listening: The first thing that surprised me about twitter was that in order for people to pretend to care about what I have to say, I had to accord them the same courtesy. Being a blowhard IRL (i.e. In Real Life for all you n00bs out there!), this was hard for me to understand at first. Did other people expect me to listen to them? Why would I listen to anyone when I already know what they want to say, based on how they look? Is this what being social was all about? I know that now, because of twitter. Another thing I learnt was that all I have to do to make people feel “special” is to feign interest in what they’re saying! Who’da thunk it?
2. The art of letting go: On twitter, once you write a tweet, you need to let it go.Though, be warned, It’s not that easy. In the beginning, when you see the vowels from your tweets being plucked out as harshly as a catholic priest plucks the virginity of a choir boy, all you would want to do is physically punch the culprit. You tire of the constant need to bang your head against the wall when you see someone appending a word to your tweet and totally changing it’s context. You also learn to not care about the dozens of people who will simply copy your tweets and tweet them as their own. Once you put something out there, it isn’t yours anymore. So let it go. Set it in the wild. And, if it loves you as much as you love it, it will come back to you in the form of a text message.
3. The art of sounding exotic: Thanks to twitter, I was able to learn how I can get people from other countries to pay attention to mundane events in my life like waking up or raindrops. All you have to do is romanticize everything, sprinkle a bit of melancholy, and voila before you can say “Jai Ho”, you have thousands of followers! For example, my room isn’t filthy, it’s “proof that I live a full life because each millimetre of dust contains millions of memories!” (Sadly, that doesn’t work on my Mom!). Similarly, politicians aren’t just corrupt, they “feed off the carcasses of hungry children, remaining oblivious to their plight, all the while trying to fill their insatiable greed and rotund bellies”.
4. What women want: Earlier, all my knowledge about woman was gathered from the Mel Gibson movie, What Women Want. However, since recent events have revealed that Mel Gibson clearly has no idea about women (at least not the type of women I would like to attract), I had to turn to a new source of wisdom. And I found him on twitter. My new personal love guru, Chetan Bhagat, has made me see the light with his constant tips & tricks on how to impress women. It has not worked until now, and I have ten restraining orders against me. However, I’m pretty sure I’ll find the one one of these days. If the woman on twitter are any indication, I am almost certain that woman in general think more about sex than men. That’s because statistically, if you’re a woman and you’re on twitter, you probably spend most of your time spewing more innuendo than an 80s British sitcom. Although, my guru tells me that the women on twitter aren’t the ones you take home to your parents. I wonder what he means by that?
5. How to support a cause: Before twitter, I was always in a flux whenever I wanted to do something for the world at large. You know, give back to the world and all that jazz. Now, whenever I hear about a cause that I think I can support, I always add a ribbon to my twitter profile picture (or as the cool kids call them, a twibbon!). Joining a facebook group is so 2007! In fact, thanks to twitter, I got Barack Obama elected as President, brought real democracy to Iran and helped cure breast cancer. That pretty much concludes my quota of “good deeds” for the rest of the decade. Santa better bring me loads of stuff this christmas!
6. Feeding your insanity: Whatever mental illness you suffer from, twitter can act as an enabler. If you are a masochist, you can follow “celebrities” on twitter and their banality will help mangle all your senses. This is even more painful than lying on a bed of nails. If you suffer from low self esteem, you can follow people who have poor language skills and a really delusional sense of self, which helps you feel a little bit saner about yourself. However, don’t feel that sane, you’re on twitter after all. I mean that as a good thing. In this Jersey Shore-ified world, being insane is a one-way ticket to popularity. Remember, all the insane people have the most followers.
7. Creating lazy content – Not only do the people on twitter like reading whatever’s on twitter. they are also really eager to read other people’s analysis about twitter. Even though almost every post/article on twitter says the same thing, people still like to read them and then retweet them, because this way they can pretend to laugh at themselves. Another reason why twitter posts are popular is because a post on twitter is the easiest thing to write. Start the post by making fun of a public figure you revile, throw in a few references to people tweeting about the food they eat, add some banal celebrities and rephrase what everyone else has said before along with some jokes. End the whole thing by adding a few meta references (because it’s important for the world to know that you can laugh at yourself too!) and your twitter post is ready.