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There are various places where you live. It can be your home, your school or college, your office, or any other place that has a place in your daily life. For me, Twitter became that place as I was growing up and exploring my way through this world. Thanks to Twitter for reminding me that I have completed 10 years on this platform. I have so many memories, lessons, and learnings as I walk down memory lane.
Well, this will be one of the blogs that I am not writing for anyone but for myself. It will be a personal blog, a journal, a note-to-self, or anything you wish to call it. I am sharing some memorable moments and lessons I learned from my decade-long stay on Twitter.
First Twitter Account
I remember signing up on Twitter in 2012 because my Facebook was filled with friends and family. The liberty to share unpopular opinions on Facebook was gone. Some people suggested me to be on Twitter and I thought, let us try. Within a month of joining it, I saw a contest by Chetan Bhagat, and I casually took part. Surprisingly, I won the contest and got an iPod.
However, an iPod was the last thing I wanted at that time. I wanted to upgrade from my Symbian phone to a Windows Phone and I got the opportunity. I sold that iPod and bought Nokia Lumia 620. It marked a turning point in my life.
My Second Inning on Twitter
By 2013, I understood the platform and somehow felt uncomfortable with my existing account. I could not find a way to overhaul that. So eventually, I gave up on that and made a new account. That is how my current account @imparixit came into being. This account gave me a distinctive identity, a perfect place to share my socio-political views and connect with people I looked up to.
I was not making highly calculated moves, but I was not haphazard as well. I thought I was learning the platform and sharing my thoughts, but little did I know that I am learning much more than that. I was learning networking, professional communication, and most importantly, how to react to adverse situations.
The Opportunity Knocks
I was not aware of the power of Twitter until this year. I thought it was just another platform like Facebook. I was gaining my little share of acknowledgement from some prominent people by 2013. My network was expanding in terms of the number of people and quality of people alike. In 2013, I got an opportunity to meet some of my virtual connections in the real world.
By 2014, I had become a person people would trust to get things done. I was known as someone with a good command of the language and a way of communicating professionally. It landed me the task of managing the Twitter account of one of the biggest political figures in Maharashtra at that time. Though there was no commercial discussion when I began, I was asked “What is your bill for this?” This left me surprised (and clueless). Though I did not make millions out of that project, I found a way to make something in the future.
Twitter, The Troll’s Favorite Place
While Twitter stayed my primary social media platform from 2012 to 2014, it no longer was the same. The Twitter I joined had a place for every opinion, constructive discussions, and healthy arguments. Soon after, it started becoming a battleground between A vs B. The “you and me” philosophy no longer existed. It was “you vs me” and “them vs us.” A healthy social media platform became a favorite place for trolls and bullies.
Be it political discourse or sports and entertainment. Every section of Twitter had its own war and warriors. They were not fighting for any cause; they were fighting because it gave them the thrill and a sense of power. This remained to be the situation for quite a long time, even today to some extent. The kind of platform Twitter was, it became a perfect place for organized trolling and shutting down dissenting voices.
My Break from Twitter
Thanks to the abovementioned reasons, I moved away from Twitter after 2016. Though I was taking up freelance projects of Twitter management for public figures, I was not motivated to continue my personal account like before. I could not see myself arguing with trolls and ignoring them became next to impossible. Soon Twitter became a platform where it will not let you grow unless you do something controversial. For me, it was too much of an effort for too little result.
Life’s Biggest Turnaround
Then comes 2018. I met my business partner Chinmoy Sharma through Twitter. We clicked in a few conversations and soon decided to work together. Our company Eerlik Media came into being in May 2018. As if life is coming full circle, Twitter marketing was the primary service we were offering to our clients. We understood that even if Twitter was not the biggest social media platform, it was big enough to be important for big brands. Twitter, to date, is one of the key channels for us. We have carried out hundreds of projects in the last five years for multiple brands and individuals.
Regardless of Twitter marketing my company offered to clients, the platform still did not motivate me enough to become active again.
Twitter and Me, Today
COVID-19 changed the way Twitter was functioning. Hundreds of people used it as an SOS button to seek help and extend help in crucial moments. The platform that seemed to be harboring hate became lifesaving to millions. At the same time, “influencers” started to appear in every industry. They took over Twitter just like every other social media platform. Without debating the quality of content, they are sharing, I thank them for reclaiming a big part of Twitter for hatemongers.
And then the hostile takeover by Elon Musk happened. Twitter Blue changed the way Twitter was. The prestigious blue tick which was reserved for people with contacts became a commodity anyone with money can buy. The Twitter algorithm started encouraging niche content creators over others. Though it’s nowhere close to the Twitter many users (including myself) have seen, it is far better than what it became over time.
For me, this is a place where I can live again. Though I can’t love Twitter like before, I have reasons to use it again. I am guilty of “buying the blue tick” but I am glad to have not paid a hefty price to any intermediary. I like the ways Twitter is exploring to incentivize creators and real users. Though I am not sure how good it’ll be in the upcoming days, today, the bird app is breathing again.