Thoughts on Rails

Riding the Train of Thought

What is Twitter, for me?

with 4 comments

Twitter, a minimalistic communication platform that doubles up as a social networking site because of a unique way of forming self-curated, personal groups. That’s how I’d describe this rather interesting phenomenon that has taken the world by surprise — when everyone else seemed to make social networking sites heavier, Twitter came in with a multitude of limitations. Message length 140 characters, no way to tag someone, no option to upload photos, videos, no special method to attach links. It stopped working every now and then, shoved a flying whale in your face when all you wanted to say was “Good morning world!”.

But it grew. People using the site came up with ways to tag people, by adding an @ sign before the username… the company incorporated this into their code [1], [2]. The “failwhale” as it was named, again by users, nearly disappeared. Profile search came in, so people could find new and interesting people to follow. [3]

All this progress was all technical stuff, it interested mostly the geeks. However, in my experience, as time went on, I wanted more of my closest friends to be a part of this so I invited them over. It seems, around that time everyone else was doing the same. Soon enough, we had a bunch of people we knew and some we had never met talking about random stuff. Everything from “I’m having a cup of chai.” to “I’m getting married!”

However, the scene among Twitter users in India was like that of a desert… mirages in form of rarely used accounts and hopes that there are others out there. We found a few people to follow and formed a very tightly knit community. People from all over India identified as one unit. But there were very few of us. Until a fellow by the name @s4ur4bh came along (note: He has changed username to @saurabh now, and another person uses the original handle) and started a Google Talk chat-bot that drew interest from many people and introduced us to each other. The ball really started rolling after the “IndiaTwits” experiment. A name which I opposed for using “i” instead of “ee”, but an idea I was eager to accept.

The project ran its course, but the people who had joined Twitter by now had gathered enough momentum to continue tweeting. Of course, some disappeared, new people joined in. But most stayed put. These were the nostalgic golden days from my perspective. I met some people when visiting their cities, all thanks to Twitter. Got a new job, thanks to Twitter. Made some lasting friends, and shared my happiness and sorrows, got pat on the back or a kick when deserved. Twitter started getting more and more personal. From just noting what I was doing, it became a place to record what I was feeling along with other details of life. For me, Twitter had always been a open, personal diary. But with many people interacting, it also became a diary of my discussions, opinions, interests and whatnot!

Those who have followed me and observed might have noticed that I’ve changed over the years. I rant (slightly) less these days, am a tad bit more sarcastic than before, find more things funny and am not afraid to say it when I’m not sure about something. At least I got the chance to observe these changes in me with hard evidence! Though I haven’t recorded *everything* here, especially about details like having feelings for someone, or the once in a while disagreements with friends or family, but I have recorded the most happy and most shocking days of my life since I’ve been using Twitter. I’ll write about those someday later, in detail… those events deserve a detailed thought.

So this is what Twitter means to me… a diary, a lounge to chat with friends, a marketplace where I can buy and sell, a town hall where I can debate with or listen to smart and knowledgeable people, a place where I can ask for reviews of places or things. Twitter also helps me form a personal support group… people who care for me get constant updates about what I’m doing, and once in a while, when I’m feeling down, I tweet about it and get replies to console, cheer up or phone calls to talk or invitations to meet up and vent it out in person. To think I didn’t even know these people a few years or even months ago… ! Other times, I return the favor. Yes, Twitter is very personal for me, it has helped me cope through some turbulent times. The people, half of whom I haven’t even met do matter to me.

I’m not living a second life, am not pretentious or “virtual” on Twitter; it is a wholehearted extension of who I am.

That’s Twitter for me. How about you?



Written by hiway

January 7, 2011 at 6:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

4 Responses

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  1. Lovely post Harshad, I can really identify with it. Oh and I didn’t even know of the good old days!

    Bombay Addict

    January 7, 2011 at 7:04 am

  2. @Bombay Addict: πŸ˜€ Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Harshad Sharma

    January 7, 2011 at 7:11 am

  3. after reading this, i can say, twitter has been pretty much the same for us! πŸ™‚

    Kristopher Noronha

    January 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm

  4. @kristopher πŸ˜€ I hear ya

    Harshad Sharma

    January 9, 2011 at 4:37 am

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