Today, I am going to share some of the lessons I have learnt from Twitter. Well, they are more or less life lessons because Twitter is just a microcosm (had to go look up the word) of human society in general. When you actually think about it, you can find the characteristics of people in your community on Twitter.
For instance, you find people who are just jealous of you just because 😦 Maybe in your neighbourhood it could be because you dress well or because you choose to mind your own business most of the time. On Twitter it could be because you always seem to have something interesting to share or because you are popular. Some people, I think these are generally the ones we call “haters” may just dislike you because you seem to be getting more attention than they do from a handle they like.
Also in your community you may have people who annoyingly poke their nose into other people’s affairs and who are ready to generate a scandal. On Twitter you have people who are exactly like that. More so, the anonymity provided by Twitter makes it possible for people who choose, to be even more obnxious than they normally are. Some handles are just in the business of generating controversy…especially those who use neither their real names nor their real pictures as their display photo. Plus, controversy, scandals and getting into twitfights seems to make people gain more followers, so quite a number of people choose that path.
Also as in real life there are cliques. People would often bend over backwards – do completely unbelievably insane things to be identified with a certain clique they percieve as cool. It’s just like high school. Some handles won’t even tweet at or respond to handles that they believe do not belong to their league…sometimes it looks something like a fraternity. There are cliques in all parts of Nigerian Twitter and I believe there is something of an unwritten rite of passage to get in. For instance: there is Overlords Twitter. Most people judge this merely by the number of followers you have but I think there are other factors which include how long you have been active on Twitter, your clout and acceptance by other premium Twitter users (I probably should devote a blog post sometime in future to developing this theory of Twitter cliques)
So what have I learnt from Twitter?
1. Everyone has an agenda: As many people as come on Twitter have an agenda. Some are sinister, some are not. For instance, I know of this handle that started off with GEJ bashing until he grew over 5k followers and suddenly he monetises the handle. LOL. On Nigerian Twitter one of the quickest ways to grow followership is to bash the government. It doesn’t even matter whether what you are saying makes sense or not. As long as you can articulate it properly, you will have a large following in no time. So the agenda just might be acquire followers anyway you can and then monetise your handle. You may tweet the things that made you gain the followers iin the first place just to keep them on.
2. When upset, step away from your device: I mentioned in an earlier post that Twitter never forgets. Let me add that you may not be able to take back a tweet. You may delete it. You may tweet a retraction. You may apologise. Yet, once you hit that send button its like a bullet from a gun. You need the Avatar’s air bending skills to get it back. So when someone annoys me on Twitter I have learnt to just drop my device and do something else for a bit. And then come back when I’ve simmered. I have ended up regretting the few times that I have tweeted in annoyance. I remember once @gboukzi was at the receiving end of my anger. I doubt if we have recovered fully from it 😦
3. Patience: The truth is no matter how selective you are about who you follow, you will always have someone on your timeline spewing out or retweeting “rubbish”. Sometimes it might even be someone you have an off Twitter relationship with so you may not be able to unfollow. I have learnt to be longsuffering with such people. I read their tweets and I feel like tweeting them and telling them they heads seriously need an examination but most often I just ignore and move on. Sometimes it may even be like someone has been sent from the pits of christendom’s hell to torment you and all they seem to do is make antagonsing remarks each and everytime. Like @tobiamoo for instance. I resisted the urge to unfollow him for a long time because he teaches me patience.
4. There are still caring people out there: oh yes. Some of the closest friends I have now, I met on Twitter and they turn out to be a great support in times of trouble and a great joy to be around when I just need to laugh. There is @Ivyorji, @9jareigns, @eddyaniekan, @jesseoguns, @HL_Blue, @mistermobility, @stanleyazuakola, @abyurla and so many more. I have watched as people rally round and raise funds for strangers in need or jointly ensure that a cause is seen to a logical fulfillment. I have learnt from Twitter that with the right leadership people will come together and accomplish great things.
5. The Nigerian education system has failed: This is a very sad lesson and it hurts somewhere deep in my heart but it has to be said. Twitter has revealed to me how alliterate and illiterate the majority of the Nigerian middle class is and how illogical their reasoning often turns out. There is a severe dearth in strategic thinking. And no where is this manifest than in the Follow-the-overlord-mentality of a majority. Once an overlord makes a tweet everyone seems to swallow hook, line and sinker, whatever they tweet, without query. Like people under a spell they would even get into fights with people who want to clarify matters. Interesting, most of the things they argue about a brief search on google would clarify but they would rather be spoon fed. I believe this is a as a result of a failing in our education system that does not actively favour independent research and questioning.
6. Comprehension is a serious problem: I once took a 30 minute comprehension class and more recently a 15 miinute context class on Twitter because I realised that a lot of people on Twitter lack basic comprehensive skills. I have written a number of articles which people have come to query me about and from their queries, I could decipher that they lack comprehension. Of course, this can be closely linked to 5 above. Our school system has failed to teach people how to make deductions. So you would often find someone read a tweet and misconstrue it.
Time will fail me if I continue to enumerate and elucidate on lessons from Twitter. I am sure you must have learnt something from being on Twitter too. The comments section is a the place to share. Now, I must run but don’t forget to join me tomorrow as I will be sharing some Twitter P-setting gist.
And all thy children will be taught of Jehovah and great shall be the peace of thy children – Isaiah 54:13 DBT