It can be made official- since the last six months or so, I was cheating on Facebook. Instead of giving her my undivided attention, I had started hanging out at another equally seductive beauty of social networking- Twitter, and by now I can safely say she has replaced Facebook as my Number 1 source of entertainment, time waste, and in general procrastination. This led to another question- if Twitter is mo much fun, why haven't my friends fallen for it? I have close to 400 "friends" on Facebook, out of which at least 100 are fairly active users- posting status updates, uploading photos, sharing videos, taking pointless quizzes such as 'Which Carbon Atom of Di-chloro-ethylene Are You?' or playing retarded games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars on an almost daily basis, and what about Twitter? Looking at my list, I see close to 50-odd of these friends have Twitter accounts but no more than 4 (yes, FOUR) are active Twitter users! I am no social media or human psychology expert and there are probably 100,000 websites out there comparing Facebook and Twitter (out of which I have read none), but since I have been smitten, I will do the noble duty of convincing as many of my friends to get active on Twitter and waste even more time than they are doing now on Facebook. Here are five reasons why Twitter-shy junta should start tweeting-
1. It's Not About What You Are Doing Now
When Twitter was launched, general impression was that it is a creepy site where creepy people with no better thing to do in life keep writing what they are doing all day, giving other creepy people opportunity to virtually stalk them. This fact is further proved by the fact that every now and then I see a newbie join the Twitter bandwagon and tweet stuff like "Going to meet the professor now" or "Had a sandwich. It was awesome!" This is no longer the case. Why? Because nobody freaking cares! Even if you are as popular as Sachin Tendulkar or Justin Bieber, nobody really is interested in knowing what you are eating or wearing or seeing. Twitter is not about being creepy, but being creative. How? See Reason 2.
2. It's Hilarious and Witty
I must confess, there have been hundreds of moments when I have smiled, LOLed or ROFLed over creative one-liners, witty puns and sarcastic comments on Twitter over the last six months, although I can't say the same about Facebook. The 140 character limit leaves no scope for long boring posts and all it takes to unleash the creativity is one "trending topic" may it be Rajinikanth or Super Bowl or IPL. In fact, I have realized over a period of time, the best one-liners originate on Twitter, pass on to Facebook, percolate to SMS forwards and die a slow painful death via Orkut and BBMs. Of course a prerequisite to getting this dose of entertainment is that you need to follow the right kind of people. If you just follow your real life/Facebook friends, it may not be that entertaining. Expand your scope. As they say, on Facebook you stalk people you know, on Twitter, people you DON'T know. So, who are these people to follow? The list appears at the end. Please be patient.
3. News Break on Twitter Before Anywhere Else
If you are the one who cares for whats happening in your country and the world but are too lazy to read newspapers or watch news, look no further. Twitter is your source of everything you need to know, and then some you don't need to know. From 26/11 terrorist attacks to the recent Russia airport blast, from Saina's gold medal to Rahman's Oscar, news stories from myriad sources come to your Twitter timeline faster than it comes on mainstream media, thanks to a nifty feature called Retweet or in Twitter lingo, RT. If someone you are not following but one of your followers is following (like Friends of Friends option on Facebook) writes something interesting, your follower just RTs the tweet and it appears on your timeline too. This effectively forms a virtually infinite network by which you get the most interesting feed from random people you have never heard of. So, that means a lot of spam isn't it? No! Because only things that are really interesting or important gets RTed around enough to reach you!
4. Interesting Links to Keep You Hooked
If you are one of those people who love seeing videos and reading links that your friends share on Facebook, Twitter is a goldmine for you. Every day I spend considerable time of the day reading some interesting, some humorous and a whole lot of just weird, quirky news, articles, photos, videos, cartoons, comics and what not, from sites I would have never gone on my own, because I did not even know they exist! One might argue that why do I even need to know all these stuff? Well, I don't. But it serves as a great refreshment in between boring sessions of assignments or work.
5. Interact With Your Favorite Stars
Several dozen Bollywood stars, Hollywood stars, cricketers, footballers, pop stars and anyone who is a celebrity of any kind has a Twitter account where he/she posts updates about their work and life and occasionally shamelessly indulging in an overdose of publicity for their upcoming movies etc. Unlike their websites and Facebook fan pages that are professionally maintained, I have noticed many celebrities actually maintain their Twitter accounts personally, evident from not-so-politically-correct messages and unglamorous un-photoshopped photos that wouldn't make it to the magazines and newspapers that they occasionally post on Twitter. This also means, Twitter is probably your best probability of getting a one-on-one conversation with a celebrity, may it be as short as one line reply. My high point so far has been getting a personal reply from Sonakshi Sinha (if she can considered a celebrity, that is!).
So, now that you are probably convinced into wasting more of your time by getting active on Twitter, here is a short Beginner's Guide of few people you should start following for some interesting entertainment. This is just a small starter, from an Indian point of view, and there are several interesting people around whom I don't follow yet. These people are Tw-elibrities, or Twitter Celebrities- people who are common folk like us, students, IT professionals, businessmen/women etc who have carved fame for themselves simply by being a great source of Twitter entertainment.
@gkhamba - A part-time stand-up comedian from Delhi, this guy is a laugh riot. Not always using family-friendly language, but his sense of humor and impromptu witty takes on everything from current affairs to movies will leave you in splits.
@fakingnews - As the name suggests, this guy maintains the popular website Faking News, which in my opinion is the best parody news site I have ever come across, and his tweets are equally hilarious
@eyepeeyell - If you like cricket, especially IPL, even one bit, this is one person (nobody knows real identity of this account) you just can't afford to miss. Using extremely expletive-filled language at times, he generates humor like no other from cricket matches and cricketers' lives. And with IPL just round the corner, he is gonna get super active!
@krishashok @greatbong and @thecomicproject - Popular bloggers and not as hilarious as the guy above, but these men have some really interesting stuff to share and witty takes on several topics under the sun.
@sunainak - If you thought comedy is mainly a male-domain, think again. This Punjabi kudi can be sweet and girly at times and at other times crack some extremely good (read: bad!) PJs and one-liners.
@HelloMeHippo - The cutest 'animal' on Twitter. Doesn't tweet much, but when he does, in his inimitable kiddy broken-English, it is just too adorable.
So, if you are wondering, "where are the celebrities? They are the ones I want to follow". There are way too many out there to enlist, but some I follow are-
@chetan_bhagat - The Five Point Someone guy. Many Twitter celebrities generate their humor by screwing case of this man, but he himself has interesting stuff to say too.
@sachin_rt - Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Enough said. Why do I follow him? Because he is The God. Period.
If you are male, just for the eye-candy factor you probably want to follow @priyankachopra (Priyanka Chopra), @bipsluvurself (Bipasha Basu), @realpreityzinta (Preity Zinta) and ONLY if you are a guy, you probably would like to follow @SherlynChopra too, just for the pics she uploads! :P
Apart from real celebrities, there are fake celebrities- parody accounts, who are more hilarious than the real celebrities. Some I follow are-
@sheldoncooper - Bazingga! You know what to expect!
@DepressedDarth - For Star Wars fans- imagine Darth Vader hitting a period of depression, bored of the dark side, venting out his frustration. Get the idea what to expect!
And then, there is one rather interesting "person" to follow - @kweezzz - This is not a person. This account is created simply to host interesting quizzes. Anyone who wants to host a quiz on any topic under the sun from American History to Identify Actresses From Their Legs can contact the admins and get access to this account for a certain time slot in which he/she posts a series of quiz questions that anybody around the world is free to answer by just replying. Quizzes are held almost daily and usually the first three people to reply with correct answers score points. The prize is no money, just recognition and a sense of accomplishment. I shall humbly announce that I have finished on the podium in two kweezzz so far- one on India Travel and another on American Eateries!
I think this is enough to get you started. Of course, there is one more guy you probably want to follow- the one who wrote all this crap. Yes, my Twitter handle is the same as the title of my blog. Easy to search.
PS: Twitter has neither paid me anything nor offered me a job for writing this.