1. The mutual self-congratulation. Twitter users, or tweeters (see below), are the classic schoolyard bullies. Arrogant, opinionated and, above all, insecure. Once someone decides that a certain user is ‘cool’, everyone else instantly jumps on the bandwagon.
2. The bastardisation of language. The New York Times recently banned the use of the word ‘tweet’ in its hallowed pages. They could add ‘re-tweet’, ‘tweeter’, ‘tweeple’ and ‘twibe’ to the list. As John Cleese pointed out, there is only one ‘tw’ word that should be used to describe these people: ‘twat’.
3. The creation of micro-celebrities. There was a reason a certain anchor was fired from his/her job and why that rent-an-analyst has enough time to update his Twitter feed every 15 seconds. They weren’t particularly good at their jobs and need the accolades of the me-too crowd to feed their egos.
4. Mistaking 140 characters for political activism. Yes, gang rape, flooding and drone strikes are bad. But railing against them in ALL-CAPS does not require courage.
5. I agree with myself. Being limited to 140 characters makes it impossible to start a good argument. Instead, everyone just pats each other on the back for their wisdom and wit.
6. The play-by-play commentary. Only the truly insane would follow a cricket match on Twitter when they could watch it on TV or follow live updates on Cricinfo. Yet, whenever Pakistan is playing a match, people on Twitter feel the need to announce every wicket and boundary. Cricket commentary on Twitter is as incisive as that provided on TV by Rameez Raja.
7. Constant self-promotion. Congratulations, you have a blog. So does everyone else. If it was any good I would already be reading it.
8. Using the number of followers you have as a measure of self-worth. The only people more pathetic than you are those who collect Facebook ‘friends’ the way Roger Federer collects tennis titles.
9. Its addictiveness: as any self-respecting voyeur knows, there is nothing quite like getting a peek at all the disgusting habits and mannerisms that define humanity. And Twitter, which is exclusively populated by the dregs of humanity, is a voyeur's dream.
10. Myself. Because Twitter is my crack cocaine and I need a fix right now.
Published in The Express Tribune August 22nd, 2010.
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