A tongue-in-cheek piece on some observations made via Twitter. Descriptions below may or may not apply to persons on Twitter with whom the author associates, or disassociates, himself.
1. Don’t brag, intentionally or unintentionally
Do not tweet that you are hitting the gym, or attending an extra course, or going for class and most importantly never ever tweet about your accomplishments – such as scoring an A or winning a case. Because we all know that you are just showing off, that you have to announce your achievements to the whole world to feed your poor ego. And yes, we all know that many others on Twitter (especially the Enforcers of this Code) could do better if they were to do what you did, only that they don’t want to.
2. Don’t tweet like everyone else
Yes, there’s hurricane Sandy – but don’t tweet about it – because to tweet the same topic as everyone else is lame. The Enforcers see you as “jumping on the bandwagon”, you “blind follower of trend”. These Enforcers would (applying DOs #2 as seen below) creatively criticize you with reasons such as, “Why do you show so much care about the people in New Jersey, but not to the people in Malaysia who are suffering? You are a pretentious hypocrite!” they say. Some call this “holier than thou” attitude but no, that is not true. The attitude is a myth, according to Enforcers of the Code.
3. Don’t tweet about something on which you’re not a professional
Yes, don’t. Your opinions don’t matter, no matter how well constructed they are. Who are you to tweet about Nurul Izzah’s “Muslim” statement when you are not even a Malay! Because you are a nobody, the Enforcers will call you a wannabe, a pseudo- intellectual – probably because we all know they are indeed “holier” than you. If you want to give an opinion, refer DOs #1 as seen below.
4. Don’t tweet about your upcoming test/exam/ grading/ competition
Doing this is just digging your own grave. This is because you are then under an implied obligation to reveal the result of the tweeted test/examination. If this isn’t done, you will be viewed as having failed; whereas if you do – you either failed, giving the Enforcers a topic to discuss (read: mock), satisfying their dull, gossip-craving souls for the rest of the week, or that you actually did well, giving Enforcers the setting to apply DON’Ts #1 as seen above. Either way, it’s a dead-end.
5. Don’t tweet without proofreading
This is crucial. A tweet with grammar or spelling mistakes makes you look stupid. No, seriously, if you can’t tweet in proper English, your opinions don’t matter. Such an opinion loses value quicker than does Felix Baumgartner’s free fall.
6. Don’t be dramatic
Don’t tweet how much you love your boyfriend, or how much you hate your ex, or how sad you were when you broke up. The Enforcers are a confused bunch: while they seek out dramatic tweets to brighten their monotonous cyber-oriented life, they would not hesitate to describe you as ‘dramatic, desperate for attention or pretentious’. Worse still, never say that “love is an illusion”, because you will be seen as trying to be someone else.
7. Don’t tweet about your daily life
Because nobody cares, says the Enforcers. Nobody cares what you did or bought or achieved. “But that’s my Twitter. I can tweet about my life!” you might protest. But nope, that’s a breach of the Code. You should not tweet about what you are enjoying, but should instead put aside your phone and actually enjoy the moment as per the Enforcers, else you are a lifeless soul lost in the cyber-world. It’s wrong to share your happiness or encounters of life unless you adhere to DOs #3. The Enforcers somehow have no problem with that.
8. Do not use words like ‘activist’, ‘passion’, etc.
Not that they connote negative meanings, but under the Twitter Code of Conduct, they are words openly inviting criticism. Although technically, according to the English dictionary what you are doing does in fact make you an activist, you shall never call yourself one on Twitter. This is because you will be seen as a self-satisfying, pretentious person engaging in human rights or volunteer work, only craving recognition or to be seen as cool – none of which are founded on selfless motives. It’s way cooler and your work will have more value when someone else calls you an activist, and you proudly say, “No I’m not. I’m just a rakyat fighting for the betterment of my country.” (I wonder if this isn’t more pretentious)
9. Don’t be offensive
No, the image of Mother Mary appearing on a hospital window where your ward bed may be facing is not even the tiniest bit creepy. It either isn’t, or you shouldn’t tweet about it even if you think it is. The Enforcers are not only confused, but also have extraordinary sensors that are very easily stimulated – a condition more commonly known as being sensitive. Ah, it doesn’t matter how you phrase your tweet or how much you try to be polite; a “no offence” doesn’t help.
10. Don’t ask anyone to unfollow you
Last but not least. Simply because they won’t. The Enforcers somehow like following you: they love your tweets (while they might not admit it), and in fact often discuss them during their meetings, followed by a deep critical analysis of your 140 characters! Did I not mention that they are a confused bunch? However, don’t be fooled when they do unfollow you, as they might still visit your profile in stealth mode from time to time, to check whether you have breached the Code again. The Enforcers need you, for what would they do with their empty lives otherwise?
There you go. Those are your 10 DON’Ts listed in the Young Adults’ Twitter Code of Conduct – grave infringement of which may attract even graver punishment, ranging from loss of followers which signifies loss of popularity and strength, to judgment and segregation by society. Beware.
Now, to the D)s listed in the code.
1. Do your research
Before you tweet about anything, do your research regardless of how long it would take. Don’t jump on the bandwagon, or be seen/perceived as doing so. Only with research can you have a different viewpoint – a special thing to say. Then you will be seen as intellectual and cool. For example, during Kony 2012, if you took the extra mile of researching on the matter before tweeting your concurrence, you would have looked much more impressive and intellectual, right?
2. Be creative
Don’t do what others are doing; it’s not cool! Be different, be creative, be a hipster. Don’t say ‘Selamat Hari Raya’, go for ‘Eid Mubarak’, even if you don’t know what it actually means. Don’t say ‘Happy Deepavali’, try ‘Deepavali Vaazhthukkal’. Like I said, it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand.
3. Tweet about food
Twitpic your food. Share the snapshots taken with your RM4000 Nikon. The Enforcers won’t complain as they might if you do DON’T #7.
4. Retweet the appropriate tweets
Be it C.S. Lewis or Nietzsche, retweeting these makes you look intellectual, even if you don’t really understand what they mean. Don’t retweet love quotes or supposedly funny tweets; it automatically degrades your intelligence.
5. Share the right materials
Tweet some articles you read somewhere, even if that is the first you’ve read in a long time. But do remember to make sure it’s Hip or Cool or Intellectual. The Economist and Loyarburok are good sources, among others. Doing so makes you leap from the yellow to green belt of the Hierarchy of Intelligence imagined by the Enforcers. Same applies to #nowplaying: don’t share Pitbull or Ke$ha. Either don’t play it at all or don’t tweet #nowplaying tweets when listening to music. Do so only when you are listening to Arctic Monkeys or Two Door Cinema Club or Foals – whatever band your ordinary peers don’t listen to. Then you are cool, you are special. One golden rule of thumb – listen to bands that don’t even exist yet.
6. Praise God
This solves the problem faced in DON’Ts #1. Praise God at the end of your bragging tweet, because it leads the Enforcers to forgive you, like how Jesus forgives you.
“I scored an A!” // “What a show off” VS “By gods grace I scored an A!” // “Congrats!
7. Be multicultural
Last but not least. This makes you a patriotic, kind, loving, sociable person. Occasionally tweet that you are listening to some Mandarin songs if you are Chinese, to show that deep down you are still Chinese and grateful to your ancestors, tak macam kacang lupakan kulit. But never only share Mandarin songs, share some cool hipster English songs, or you will be classified as Ah Beng. Also occasionally tweet in other languages, preferably Malay, and tweet about your friends of various ethnicities – as both indicate you as an open-minded patriotic 1Malaysia preacher. Damn, ain’t that attractive?
There you go. Those are your 10 DOs listed in the Young Adults’ Twitter Code of Conduct. Make sure you love and know them by heart, as they should constitute approximately 80 % of your tweets. Be assured that you will be rewarded with popularity and exultation by the Enforcers.
While one may preach that freedom of speech is guarded and ensured in the cyber-world, the reality is that it is not. What binds us are not the formal regulations and rules by law, but the restrictions and boundaries that exist in our minds, manifested by no one but ourselves. Honest opinions and expressions are not appreciated, while pretentious tweets whereas yield popularity and rewards. Breaches of the above Code attract mockery, judgment and criticisms by peers. This is why youth no longer tweet what they wish to, but tweet instead what is seemingly cool or acceptable by their peers.
In short, it is not the rules of law that we need try to invalidate, but the mental chains, locks and bars from which we should try to break free. Tweet whatever you wanna tweet, kid.
Tags: Louis Liaw, Twitter, online conduct, social media
Hello there! I am Louis Liaw, a recent law graduate from Cardiff University. I am commencing my pupillage in November 2015, and therefore am excited and anxious at the same time towards this new chapter of my life. I will be sharing my pupillage experience as well as the lessons learnt along the journey, in hope to, even if only a little, help some interested parties along the way.
Posted on 15 November 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.
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