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To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question

By Ananya Bhattacharya | Last Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 16:48
Ananya Bhattacharya
Silent Assasin

Hamlet’s dilemma is no longer only his own. It has now been extrapolated on to each one of us who is well-conversant with the ways and methods of that one social platform – Twitter. What with governments banning Twitter handles and repressing the freedom to ‘tweet’, one is left to wonder how much is it that a platform like Twitter actually makes a difference in our lives.

The 140-charactered boon is not all that rosy, actually. It involves a lot of thinking, for one. And given the fact that our brain is not very accustomed to thinking in 140-characters, more often than not, people end up tweeting things which sound way different than what they would have wanted it to sound like. End result: either delete the tweet, or face the consequences.

The whole issue raised by the Indian government in limiting the unrestrained usage of Twitter was that of curbing hate messages. True, there is a lot of hatred that is propagated through social media like Twitter and Facebook, but the question still remains – have we lost our sense of humour? Taking tweets with a pinch of salt is something that just doesn’t seem to happen in this so-called democracy of ours.

The little blue bird has been phenomenal in killing people, making the most unknown of people famous and a lot more. The likes of Poonam Pandey and Sherlyn Chopra, people who became ‘celebrities’ – thanks to Twitter – might be cursing the government for banning the handles of some of their lovely followers.

Coming to the territory of getting back at people who might have harmed you in some point in your life, the task was never easier. Politicians, celebrities, and the who’s who – all have, at some point or the other, used the power of the blue bird to make their grievances known to their ‘followers’. Many others have sought the help of the tweeting platform to redeem their images in the eyes of the devotees who are eager to lap up every single syllable from their idols.

Many a times, Twitter has been the victim of pranks by people. Death hoaxes, for example, are just not something that the brains behind the creation of Twitter would be very proud to see doing the rounds of their much-loved baby. The latest target of a death hoax has been the famous country singer Taylor Swift. An ‘RIP Taylor Swift’ trend that went viral on the social platform has had many tearing their hair by the roots and had many others weeping over the fake death of their favourite singer. And we have had many celebrities ‘dying’ on Twitter thus far – Madonna, Lady Gaga, even our very own Amitabh Bachchan. The list of celebrity deaths on the platform keeps getting heftier each day.

Whether or not Twitter is a boon is something that many intellectually honed minds have debated, but have managed to arrive at no unanimous answer till date. And then comes the unwarranted-for blow from the Indian government – imposition of limitations on Twitter. Their argument isn’t exactly one that sounds convincing enough, it is instead, one that comes across as weird by the standards of many. Something that the government can work towards, is probably going back to a dictionary and finding out – once and for all – the difference between ‘hate’ and ‘humour’. Banning six fake Twitter accounts of the Prime Minister’s Office is a step that has amounted to many such mushrooming up – how many and for how long will precious time be wasted on something as ridiculous as this? Time, only, can answer that.

And for the time being, we might concentrate on writing our next 140-charactered bomb. And hope that the hawk eyes of Mr. Sibal and the like don’t spot us amidst the barrage of ‘hate (read: humorous) tweeters’. Amen!

First Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 16:48

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