Mudslinging. Witty comments. Slander. Egotistic Overlords. Muckraking. And downright gutter fighting. Welcome to Nigerian Twitter, the home of drama, melodrama and more drama. This is not to suggest that there are no upsides to this fascinating social media platform. I tell anyone who cares to listen that Twitter is by far my favourite online social networking site. There’s just something about it that never fails to entertain or inform at any given time. For one, it projects far less pretentiousness and fake life compared to its Facebook and Instagram counterparts. Its uniqueness is also seen in the bench mark of 140 character messages that one is limited to in expressing a thought. As a writer, the brevity of words one is confined to on Twitter appeals to my creative side. A characteristic that stands it out from other social media platforms.
As much as Twitter is a fun place to meet interesting people in the virtual world, and enjoy plenty of lighthearted banter, it can also be a slippery slope where a little blunder can quickly escalate into a major scandal. The streets of Nigerian Twitter are brutal and unforgiving. The many twit fights which have been recorded in this relatively new year alone is testament to the volatile nature of Nigerian Twitter. And so today, I’ll be attempting to help you navigate the mine riddled streets of Nigerian Twitter so you can have a good time without getting enmeshed in any controversies or roforofo fights that break out daily. Let’s delve right into what you need to do to not just survive but also enjoy being a part of the interesting phenomenon called (Nigerian) Twitter;
Follow the right people: The first step to ensuring you have a good time on Twitter is by seeking the right set of people to follow. I am not about to advertise anyone’s handle free, but, this largely depends on what qualifies as fun for you. If you’re the happy-go-lucky type, you would definitely want to be in the loop of all the juicy gossip, jokes and entertainment gist, and so it only makes sense to follow interesting celebrities, gossip handles and regular people who have a good sense of humour. If you are a nerd/geek on the other hand you will find several “serious” handles that will suit your needs. However, I recommend a healthy mix of things. As people retweet other people’s tweets into your timeline you will get a good idea of who and who to follow. A good combination of folks a great sense of humour, cynics, overlords, celebrities, media and political/government handles make for a wholesome experience of Nigerian Twitter.
Don’t believe everything you read: It’s called a virtual community for a reason – It doesn’t exist physically. Never take everything you read hook, line and sinker. Like other virtual communities, there are parody accounts on Twitter. Empty barrels who speak (or technically type) highfalutin jargon in a bid to project pseudo-intelligence on the gullible ones litter the corridors of Nigerian Twitter. Strong opinions which are hardly applicable in the real world are defended vehemently. When popular opinion tells you to ditch your girlfriend because she isn’t “hawt” enough or move out of your parent’s house after graduation, even though you are yet to get a job, then you may need to think twice before acting on their advice.
Just “Lol” Along: The fastest way to get into trouble on the unsparing streets of Nigerian Twitter is by jumping into chats you have little knowledge of with an unwanted opinion. Twitter is the base of subliminal messages, popularly called “subs.” It’s very easy for your tweet to be misconstrued as a sub, in which case you just might find yourself bearing the brunt of the frustrations of a random person before you can catch your breath. Many have been lampooned and derided to no end, and some have even had to delete their accounts after receiving backlash for a tweet they never imagined could draw the ire of the gladiators on Twitter. The way to play it safe while having fun on Nigerian Twitter is by simply “loling” along. Just be the one who has a good time laughing at the different subs, jokes and innuendoes flying around. Stay in your lane; that way you are not likely to be drawn into any unnecessary drama. On the flip side, you may decide to…
Ensure you possess a caustic tongue: An intrinsic ability to make scathing remarks and “epic come backs” to unsavoury comments is an advantage in the Twit world. If you’re one who can’t find fulfillment observing things from the sidelines, and absolutely have to get into the fray for kicks, then you’ll need to make sure you’re ready for all the drama and meltdown that Nigerian Twitter is never short of. If you’re certain you can withstand the heat, then by all means dive right into anyone’s timeline and air your views regardless of whose Ox is gored. As your ancestors and progeny get insulted as is sure as daylight certain to happen, you also get the chance to spew all the venom you possess in retaliation. It is these kinds of drama and twit fights the rest of us mere spectators live for, even though most of us pretend to be disgusted by the show of shame of feuding parties.
Jump on the Hashtags/Trending Topics: At any point in time there are hashtags on trending topics on Twitter. The best way to be in on the latest news around the world and also have a good laugh courtesy of the homemade hashtags is by getting creative with them yourself. These hashtags encourage people to be creative with words, embrace lighthearted repartee and generally share an air of camaraderie. I’d gladly recommend the #IWasInMyHouseAndTrailerCameToJamMe which is one of the most hilarious hashtags on Nigerian Twitter. There’s also the #BeingFemaleInNigeria and #ItsOnlyInNigeria among many others.
In all, Nigerian Twitter is loads of fun. But beyond being fun, it must be said that it is a platform that has been at the forefront of championing many worthy causes and civil activism. The Bring Back Our Girls campaign created in honour of the missing Chibok girls which started like any other hashtag on Twitter became one of the most talked about topics in the world at the peak of its awareness. Nigerian Twitter has exposed frauds, shed more light on burning issues, provided employment for the previously unemployed and saved lives. Therefore, it’s not just all about the weave pulling and slut shaming that occurs there everyday.
Not to deride Facebook, Instagram or Snap Chat. But, Twitter is the real deal. Get on board (if you aren’t already) bearing the few points I have elucidated in mind and kiss boredom goodbye.