Monday, May 23, 2011

World Tweet world

One Man's Meat

From breaking news on Osama’s death to resignation bombshells, Twitter has become a first source of information for some 200 million Twitterers around the world.

SOONER or later an obituary will read: Tan Sri X leaves a wife, five children and 110,017 Twitter followers.

I got the epiphany from a cartoon in The New Yorker, a weekly magazine. The cartoon hammered home the growing popularity of the social networking and microblogging service. There are about 200 million accounts on Twitter, approximately a third of Facebook’s user base.
I use to be disdainful of Twitter, thinking it was the briefer (140 characters) version of the lying blog.

When I was based in Bangkok last year, I received a SMS from a friend in Kuala Lumpur asking whether Malaysians were killed in the Thai capital. I replied: “Not that I know of as right now I’m near Siam Paragon shopping mall and there’s no blood on the street. Who told you?”

She replied: “I read it on Twitter.”

What a twit, I thought. Plus I thought Twitter was a stupid place where people just talked about what they had for breakfast.

Despite my negativity towards the social media, I decided early this year to be a “lurker” (someone listening, reading and following others on Twitter). And Twitter proved to be a vital tool as a news source.

On the morning of March 21, I got a whiff of a sex video scandal when @niknazmi (PKR communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad) tweeted: “A little bird informed me that a doctored video of DSAI having sex is being shown to top editors right now. #fitnah2 not effective?”

(DSAI is the acronym of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and interestingly, Anwar has used his tweets as an alibi to prove his innocence.)

Twitter has become my first source of information. And also for most Twitterers.

Don’t believe me? On May 3, David Pogue @pogue (David Pogue, New York Times tech columnist) tweeted: “Where did the news break about Osama’s death? On Twitter, of course!”

On May 2, @PhilipGolingai (that’s me on Twitter) tweeted: “Sohaib Athar live-tweeted the deadly raid on Osama in Pakistan about seven hours before Obama announced it in a live telecast.”

Twitter rules the world!

Now, I’m a Twitter addict. The first thing I do when I wake up is to fire up Gravity (a Twitter client) on my Nokia N8.

Two Twitterers whom I keenly follow are @Ngobalakrishnan (Pa­­dang Serai MP N. Gobalakrishnan) and @firdauschris (Parti Kita central committee member Muhammad Firdaus Christopher).

Months before he ditched PKR to become an independent MP, Gobalakrishnan agitated a sacking with Incredible Hulk-like tweets like “The problem with Anwar is he thinks that he is a godsend because when he does wrong all around him applaud him.”

Probably @Ngobalakrishnan is the first Malaysian politician to engineer a political sacking through Twitter. However, PKR ignored him.

Gobalakrishnan had to announce his resignation in Twittersphere. On Jan 29, the Padang Serai MP tweeted: “Good morning to all Malaysians. I hereby resign from all PKR party posts. I will continue my work through a new NGO.”

I enjoy the tick tock, tick tock tweets from @firdauschris that a bombshell will be dropped. Firdaus recently tweeted: “OMG! Get ready for the unleashing... I bet they will be too speechless to utter a single word when it is out for everyone’s viewing pleasure.”

I’m not sure what @firdauschris was twittering about, but I guess it had something to do with the fitnah (slander) which @niknazmi tweeted.

There are Twitterers whom I’ve unfollowed because they bored me. For instance, I used to follow a NGO operative who tweeted inside stories on the fight between PKR and SNAP. After the Sarawak polls, he then tweeted mostly about food that it made me feel fat.

I’ve also unfollowed politicians who have become inactive in TwitterJaya. Inactive followers might kill this addictive social media. Like all trends (remember Friendster?) Twitter might die a natural death.

I wonder how its obit will be written. Perhaps: Twitter leaves 1.5 billion inactive followers.