“After Fifty thousand tweets, I stopped tweeting.”
I joined Twitter way earlier than I joined Facebook. The only network I knew back then was The Orkut which seemed like a cool place but it was losing its cool factor very fast. So one day while wasting time at a public internet cafe in Lahore, I searched for new networks and viola! I discovered something called Twitter. I signed up and I was disappointed. Because I didn’t know what to do next. So I didn’t use that for many months before giving it a try after I faced life’s changing events and moving to a new place. I was coming across the word so often that I gave that a new try. I had stepped into a university where everyone was saying the word Facebook so I stayed more on the worst social element to ever exist. i never liked it from the beginning – the blue strips everywhere were a turn off. The digital friends I made outnumbered the real ones. People from college were “friends” too as the word was losing its meanings faster than any other decline in the human history. Even those whom I could barely recognize in college talked to me for hours on the Facebook chat. This made a part of me like Facebook. It was a sweet poison, a favorite time killer which I used daily. Back then Twitter was still a new born kid almost no one used in my class. I however had crossed 2000 tweets on the Christmas Eve that year. They were not words of wisdom though some were direct quotes of Ghalib, Iqbal, Faiz and Faraz, hence wisdom. Most of what I tweeted was lame but original. Lame nonetheless. My growth was steady on the bird network. I made acquaintances. It lasted for two years. The time that I spent on Facebook somehow agitated me while the time on twitter was always either peace or fun or both.
Then came 2011.
Much of the Pakistani awaam who had already jizzed enough on Facebook started to migrate to Twitter and that gave birth to new desi norms on Twitter. A new subculture was born. Sadly, it damaged the original harmony of the network. The analogy is like people moving from cities to a peaceful mountain lake in flocks. What would they do? They would pollute it. The same happened to Twitter. Even worse. They moved and settled. Today the only people from the old days of Twitter know what it was and what it is no more. Every day when I log onto Twitter, I find something disturbing. No one talks class. No one talks art. It is not that in earlier days Twitter was occupied by scientists, Prophets or some other higher beings. But there was a better crowd, a mannered gathering. Now it has become a fish market. Maybe it was designed to become like this eventually but neither I hoped nor I wanted to see this version of Twitter. It has become an utopia of perversions, twisted norms, copy-paste plagiarism. People shamelessly copy and paste words of others to satisfy some unknown thirst in their perverted souls. It is not wrong when an idea posted by one might match with another one, but word by word, punctuation by punctuation is a classless shithole which is being posted every day. It makes me remember a public toilet filled to it’s brim with muddy water in which solid feces are floating. That is what twitter is now. I feel two prime reasons responsible for this damage – first, the birth of android which gave smartphones in the hands controlled by not-so-smart minds and second, the advent of mobile internet. As a doctor, I have come across drug addicts and one thing common in addicts is their inclination towards cheap-but-always-available addiction. They would never let themselves away from the drug and if that is out of their budget, they would opt for cheaper and cheaper alternatives. Keeping up with addiction is not everyone’s courage. That is why the society is full of so many stories of people starting rich and their drug addiction makes them poorer and poorer. And then to stay numb, they start using cheaper alternatives. I have seen extremely few people who would wait instead of investing on something readily available. Many do otherwise and this thing is prevalent in our society. Due to population load, most families have one TV, one washing machine, one computer in their homes which is used by all members in the home. The smart phone is on the contrary. That is why when the availability and owning of a cheaper phone is possible, the majority does it, making it a cheaper addiction. Laptops and tablets follow smartphones but they are still a pricier addiction than phones. Android has fueled the addiction to stay connected of lower middle class and lower class and this is one reason why programs like AndroidONE exist in Africa and India where population load is huge and people want to find refuge in some way which eventually is a phone. Hence people get a connected experience for as low as 4000 Pakistani rupees and one such member of society becomes a threat to a cleaner network rather than a contribution to a world of knowledge. The advent of cheaper addiction has hurt the bookshops too. In the last two years the number of readers have seen increase but that is nothing as compared to the cheap phones sold in the last seven days. I once asked a property dealer about why the land was so expensive in a posh area. He answered that half of the reason was just to keep the poor out. Apple knew that someone who would buy an apple thing would be having an ecosystem of computing to sync music, transfer pictures and load books onto his phone or tablet. Maybe that’s why they had expensive phones from beginning. Android however knew that android owner might not have any other ecosystem. So Android itself became an efficient and cheap drug. One big side effect was an irreplaceable damage it caused to the mountain lake town of Twitter. Just remember that public toilet with floating feces.
Let us not forget the power of vaginas in any digitally connected, hyper connected, android-liking, android-buying, desi society. Any sane boy would know that only if he had been a girl and owned a vaginal orifice, his lame words would automatically turn attractive. I have felt the power of pussy very intensely with connection to social media sites, especially Twitter. As a confession, once I made a fake Twitter account as a girl with the cutest possible avatar and started interaction with boys and men more than thrice my fabricated age. In one week, I had boys after me. It was a strange feeling. I crossed two thousand followers in ten days. Wow. Just imagine what would I had achieved if I had a hole between my legs. I could have used that as a weapon! Even my lamest things earned interactions, my DMs kept buzzing. Even after glimpsing the power, I would never want to be born as a woman in this society. Never. I can happily make another fake account and be better off with this cheap addiction.
I reached near fifty thousand tweets in 2014. It was a useless milestone after which I felt near impossible to write things which matched the new norms of the new Twitter. It had become another evil by then with the online hate and harassment stuff. I planned to write a book which I am working on but with a day job, it is not easy to write full time. One day I wrote a very small line from that book on to my Twitter. Sadly it got copied. That was a lesson for me. Some humans made me love humans while some humans made me hate humans. I found the later type in abundance on twitter. Some might not agree. They can just roam on Twitter and experience it themselves. No one likes truth there, at least no more. I feel a vividly colorful and an artful world around me when I am reading a book or in the moments of creativity. Even the world of a silent moment is more beautiful where one can meet one’s own self. These worlds crumble to dust when I see forty year old men discussing their “inner feelings” with fourteen years old. The opposite exists too. I know a Twitter “aunty” from Karachi who is fond of Indian boys. I have no grudge with Indians. They seem to be very mannered. But “aunty” is damn scary. Another sickness on Twitter is that every other person on Twitter uses a stethoscope somehow rendering Twitter more like a work-space instead of a social space. Twitter was fun until every doctor in Pakistan joined it and whined about anatomy in the first year, biochemistry in the second, pharmacology in the third, pathology in the fourth and every subject in the final year. I didn’t whine so I guess I don’t qualify to be a good doctor like all others. Stethoscopes in avatars, “surgeon of tomorrow” in bio and “be nice to me, I maybe your doctor tomorrow” in updates is a big turns off. So many kutta-billi medical colleges opening, the doctor element is not cool any more! I started like humans of the opposite sex who are not connected to medicine in any way. I find teachers and art students hot. Even a girl wearing just a stethoscope fails to excite.
Finally the hateful sleepers on Twitter. This is a sick breed. They are monitoring their timelines everyday and yet don’t post even a single thing. They judge every word they see on their timeline yet they don’t type. They are frustrated souls who have nothing good to do with their lives. They are a benign tumor of Twitter. After all this I know that Twitter is becoming equally irrelevant like Facebook. I want a new place to roam again, a new mountain lake with fresh air. There is a need for a new social network which stays un-affordable for majority of population just like what the property dealer said, for some years at least. If that doesn’t happen I feel compelled to wear a mask in the same world and live under a new identity or just don’t exist in the shitty town. I feel so strongly a need for a new mountain lake town where the water is still clean and I can sit in silence over the hill and watch the sunset peacefully and not be disturbed. Not at least until the new settlers start moving in and I pack my bags and move to the new mountains in search of new hope.