When I first heard about Twitter not long after they were launched, I remember thinking ‘Why on earth would anybody want to know what somebody else is doing or thinking?
And why on earth would anybody want to advertise what they are doing?’. My thinking was re-inforced when bizarre stories concerning Tweeters (you read it right the first time!) and their Tweets (don’t look at me, I didn’t coin these terms) began appearing in the printed media.
The award for the most bizarre, at least for me, must be that of the girl who got electrocuted whilst tweeting and taking a shower at the same time. Talk about multi tasking!
Anyway, I always thought that everybody would highly value their privacy or rather what’s left of it, especially those people deemed to be celebrities or famous eg movie stars, artistes etc.
But going by whats been happening thus far, there seems to be a fine line between which privacy remains private and which privacy is for public consumption, all in the name of publicity. I guess the mantra that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, has some pretty serious followers.
But as is with everything else, there are pros and there are cons and as far as Twitter goes, it is no different.
Today, a famous personality may use Twitter to promote his or her latest project, and a politician will use Twitter to bounce ideas of the general Tweeting public, while some use Twitter just to stay relevant.
I am okay with the first two but as for the last, I am a bit at a loss as in my personal view, these group of people should be viewed as nothing more than attention seekers who seek gratification or glorification by having others know and hopefully approve of what they are thinking and doing.
And if you are as famous as you claim yourself to be or even a wannabe famous, you must be accessible, so goes another mantra. A proclamation by whoever who decides who’s famous and who’s not, who’s in and who’s not. Just who these people are and who actually bestows upon them these powers, your guess is as good as mine.
Tweeting does come with its special brand of danger. Many a famous personality have come to nought over tweets they posted via Twitter and on the flip side, many a wannabe have gone on to be famous personalities over a tweet or a series of tweets, with Malaysians proving to be no exception to this rule.
The latest to join this growing list of Tweeters is the former Menteri Besar (or Chief Minister) of Perak AND serving Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Gantang AS WELL AS serving State Assemblyman, Dato’ Sri Nizar Jamaluddin.
The cause to his rise to notoriety? His tweet over a RM520,000 successful bid by HRH The Sultan of Johor for the car registration WWW1.
That led him to be ‘attacked’ from almost everybody from the state of Johor, who are fiercely protective of their Sultan and their state, especially as it was revealed that HRH The Sultan of Johor paid for his bid using his own personal funds. More pointedly was the royal advice to Dato’ Sri Nizar to undertake proper research before making any remarks that can be considered to be in bad taste, to say the least.
Another is the serving MP for Kota Alam Shah (from the DAP), M. Manoharan. The poor man got into a very sticky situation with respect to his tweets concerning Dato’ Lee Chong Wei, posted just after the Dato’ lost in his bid to win Malaysia a gold medal in the men’s badminton singles final at the recently concluded London Olympics.
What enraged most (if not all) was that the tweets came after the Dato’ lost a very tight and close match with the then reigning Olympic champion, Lin Dan of China.
The match not only witnessed the country united as it has not been for a long time in giving him the nation’s whole-hearted support but in also telling him in the aftermath of the match, ‘its alright, be proud for you have done your very best and that’s all we can ask from you’.
It is the general consensus that the MP’s tweets left rather a disgustingly bitter aftertaste and due to public reaction, I do not think we will be hearing of any new tweets from the MP soon.
Not to be outdone were the tweets from Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham (also from the DAP and also a serving MP and State Assemblyman as well as being quite a well-known lay preacher . Apparently the Opposition have quite a number of those MPs who also double up as Assemblymen in their ranks.) with respect to the reactions of Malaysian Muslims to the film ‘The Innocence of Muslims’.
Being Malaysian and living in a multi racial and multi religious country, Dato’ Ngeh should have known or at least be sensitive to the feelings of Muslims with regards to the Holy Prophet Mohamad pbuh. For whatever reason it may be, his tweets were not appreciated, to say the least, and as it is his right to tweet, so it is the right of others to tweet back and comment.
A show of defiance from the MP lasted about five days before a public apology was issued. As in the case of the MP from Kota Alam Shah, I guess we won’t be reading any tweets from Dato’ Ngeh in the very near future either.
What it all boils down to is, especially in a diverse and complex country as is Malaysia where religion and race are very sensitive issues, great care must be exercised before you tweet. Otherwise, you may end up with more than egg on your face and be made to look like a real TWIT.