I have had a twitter account for over a year now. I log on it once a month, follow 14 people now and have 1 follower. I started an account just to see what the twitter buzz was all about but somehow have not been able to convince myself to make it a big part of my life. There are many reasons for it, the prime one being that i am not a celebrity, a reporter, a journalist or anyone significant who people would like to follow. I do not want to be under the constant pressure of thinking smart and witty things to say on twitter so that people like it enough to follow me.
I personally feel that twitter is a very powerful tool which can be used to help or hurt people. Today anybody and everybody is on twitter. Some tweets we follow by the second, some fail to fall on our ears. Thanks to twitter i now know which city Amitabh Bhachchan is in right now. What is he eating, how does he feel etc etc? Social networks like twitter and facebook give you a sense of closeness. Just because i follow Amitabh Bachchan on twitter i have started to believe that i know him better. That is a real friend to me. I have never met the guy, never spoken with him ever but yet there is a sense of closeness that i feel. I feel like he is tangible and within 140 characters away from me.
Is this sense of closeness or realism false? Shouldn't we be wary of the fact that outside the realms of this fake world of internet, life is a different reality? I am in noway implying that whatever he tweets is fake, but that just because i have the power to read his tweets real time and comment on it does not make him my close friend. Does twitter/facebook/orkut gives you a false sense of comfort and hope? A feeling like you are closer to someone (electronically not really)???
Well this then brings me to the questions why do we tweet, why are we on facebook? Some are to massage their ego, to satisfy the narcism that is breeding in them. Some genuinely like to keep in touch with people and find it convenient to open their lives online that offline. Some just use it as a tool to reach out to the masses. What is your compelling reason? Why are you add(ed/icted) to it? Why do we choose to follow someone on twitter or add an acquaintance to our friends list?
"With great power comes great responsibility". While you can reach out to million with just 140 characters be mindful of the fact that you can also piss them off with just those 140 characters. So i feel when we chose to be a part of such social site in some sense we are choosing to make our private lives public. We are giving our friends and followers the right to only only read what we want to say but also the power to comment on it. And how we react to their reactions in some sense shows the kind of a person we are in real life. That i feel is the real you. Not the twitter you, not the Internet you!!
I recently came across this very interesting and relevant discussion by Barkha Dutta which sparked off this blog. If you are a twitter user please share your experience with me. I would love to know what makes you tweet and do you feel sites like twitter / facebook/ orkut are just a passing fad which will be replaced over time with other Internet fads?
Here is the link to Barkha Dutt's show (courtesy Jaya)