Of Twitter A-Z and why some people should stick to Instagram, Facebook
By Kimani Mbugua
If you have never used the Twitter application on your phone and have been thinking about using it, you might want to think hard before signing up. If you are happy and famous on Facebook or Instagram and have been thinking about using Twitter to expand your reach, don’t, unless you are ready for it.
Kenyan Twitter has evolved so much that, at this point, nobody really knows if it is for the better or worse. It has become a whole different culture and people who seriously use this app have suffered withdrawal symptoms that drive them away from other social media platforms; especially Facebook.
A couple of weeks ago, an almost famous vlogger (that’s blogger but for videos) and Instagram favorite named Joan Obwaka tried to do the switch and it went south so fast she didn’t know what hit her.
The controversy started when someone criticized her content and she did not take it kindly but, instead, went full lecture mode. So Twitter did not take it kindly either; receipts were pulled and it ended up with her eating humble pie when someone pointed out that she was driving under the influence in one of her vlogs.
If you want to be famous on Twitter, just because it is working on Facebook or Instagram, it would be better if you know your place first. KOT is volatile ground with landmines everywhere.
This lot has humbled the high and mighty; not even the world famous New York Times was spared when they posted pictures of dead people after the 14 Riverside terror attack. KOT descended on anyone who was involved in the publishing of the pictures including their incoming East Africa bureau-chief Kimiko de Freytas who wrote the piece.
In this case, for once in a very long time, everyone on the timeline was on the same page. Nobody is allowed to exude an aura that feels remotely condescending, there is a way things work on Kenyan Twitter and you either get it or you don’t.
The level of your experience and adapting to growth on the platform defines which group you fall under. There is the group that joined Twitter when it first rolled out and have witnessed its evolution every step of the way. They are called the Twitter A, or ‘OG’ Twitter.
The younger lot even refers to them as the Twitter Uncles and Aunties. Most of them are over thirty years of age and have a bigger number of followers. They are reserved in their approach to trending topics and a large number of them will tweet with authority on subjects like finance, motoring, governance, politics et al.
@Mwirigi, @coldtusker, @KenyaPundit, @RookieKe are just a few among these OGs.
The in-betweeners fall under Twitter B, C and every other letter apart from Z depending on who you ask. They are enlightened and know everything that is happening. From pop culture to politics, they know it all and will form opinions on everything that attracts their attention.
They are dangerous if you step on them or appear to be falling short of their standards or appear not to be woke. Most of them proudly denounce Facebook and thank Jack Dorsey for saving them from the dark ages.
A good number have succeeded on Instagram as well and are admired by those who are unable to find a balance on both apps.
Twitter Fingers is a term used to describe them in some circles, especially among ‘Celebrity Twitter’ (a term loosely used here to describe people who are popular off social media). If they don’t like you, your service, your product, if they think you are too cocky, live a double life or fall short of what they deem to be acceptable, they will come for your head.
They have also mastered the art of subtweeting or ‘subaruing’; trash talking you without your knowledge. They will dig dirt on you and talk about you for days, make memes and make fun of you without directly addressing you.
This one is lethal; it is how Yummy Mummy was humbled. If you are ever involved in this racket of Twitter gossip, good luck with surviving your twitter career if you are faint-hearted.
Then there is Twitter Z or Mukuru Kwa Zukerberg (MKZ) or ‘Chokoraa Twitter’; a group of former Facebookers who somehow found their way to Twitter and survived. These are the most dangerous; they will say anything about anyone with no fear or consequence.
Every other group fears them, including Twitter B. They have the funniest tweets and they will troll you and embarass you with damning info with no remorse.
Most do not make money from Twitter so they are not worried about their ‘influencer image’ being tarnished.
Celebrity KOT is largely silent, only a few have managed to stay relevant. They are mostly media personalities, musicians, actors, actresses and people with careers that revolve around the media industry.
Most of them have a large number of followers but that’s almost as far as it goes. Their numbers do not necessarily mean that everyone talks about them.
They silently watch the wars on the timeline, getting involved for them is too risky as KOT, generally, in a weird way, is borderline anti-mainstream media. They feel like mainstream is full of old folk who don’t give opportunity to the younger generation and keep rotating the same talent. They will also dig up dirt on you, old or new, and use it against you as soon as you get involved in a fight.
Most media personalities will be minimal in their activity, unless it directly involves the product or shows they work for.
If you want to be part of Twitter B which is the most active part of Twitter, have a regular job or be actively looking for one, be enlightened about Twitter pop culture and get a good smart phone that can, every once in a while, take good pictures with glowing skin. That will draw admiration and they will show you love.
Be humble and wait for them to like you. Don’t force it. If you are not funny, don’t try to be, just be yourself. As cliché as that sounds.
Kimani Mbugua is a traffic reporter on Citizen TV’s ‘Day Break.’