So I must confess that for the last one week I’ve been cheating. I’d made a grand statement here a couple of weeks back about being off twitter, and how it was giving me so much time. After that post, however, for a variety of reasons I logged on to twitter. And I’m not sure I want to return to it as yet.
The first time I returned to twitter was during Rahul Gandhi’s interview with Arnab Goswami last week. It was a fairly hilarious interview so I was interested in knowing what people were saying. I didn’t cheat fully that day – I used the otherwise rarely used twitter tab on my flipboard to see what people were saying.
The next morning, one of my election pieces got published in Mint. I have a mechanism where any post I put on any of my three blogs gets automatically posted on twitter. This, however, doesn’t work for things I put on Mint, and that needs publicity. And so I decided to log on for just one tweet.
Breaking my twitter silence to plug my piece in Mint today on converting votes to seats: http://t.co/0xpXvzYjTc (long technical piece)
— karthik (@karthiks) January 28, 2014
While I was at it, I also happened to check my mentions and messages. There were lots of them. Just one tweet announcing my temporary absence hadn’t been seen by enough people, I think – there were lots of mentions and messages. To each of the messages, I replied with my email ID mentioning I’m not on twitter any more, and to not contact me there henceforth. I also spent a lot of time replying to some mentions. It must’ve been hilarious for those people to get the replies after so long. So I logged on, replied, posted my tweet about my piece and logged off. I saw some 10-20 tweets before I did that, and I thought I was missing something. I logged on again on Thursday to tweet another piece I’d written for Mint.
— karthik (@karthiks) January 30, 2014
Again I tweeted, read a few tweets and disappeared. Felt happy being back again and thought I should prepare for a good limited comeback. I would only log on through the browser – no apps – and not use it on my mobile devices, I thought. However, I decided i’d give it a full month of absence before coming back.
That full month ended on Saturday.
When there is an event that makes you happy, you want to talk to other people who are feeling similarly. So I logged on to twitter yesterday as soon as Karnataka had won the Ranji trophy. And jai happened.
So it seems Narendra Modi was giving a speech somewhere at the same time, and my timeline was flooded with tweets about every word he said, and analyzing them. Offenders were on both sides – some gloating over Modi, others bitching about him. It was horrible.
And then I realized that the forthcoming elections are among the most polarized in India’s history. And this is the first national elections since everyone got on to twitter. I realized that the longer I stayed on twitter the more I would be subjected to such tripe. And I logged off.
I have made a mental note that when I do start my limited comeback on twitter, I should first unfollow all these political types. The problem is how fine I draw the filter – there are some people who mostly tweet political stuff. They can be safely unfollowed. There are trolls who tweet stuff just to draw attention. They can be unfollowed too. But what about those people who mostly tweet useful stuff but go into a frenzy during an event? What does one do about those? Until I have an answer to that I’ll delay my comeback.
And when I logged on yesterday, there were a few tweets about the Ranji trophy victory that made me happy. The one that made me happiest was this one:
This season my club, FUCC, won the KSCA 1st Division. My state, Karnataka, won the Ranji Trophy. Who cares if India wins or loses?
— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) February 2, 2014