Because, the interweb

I  took part in a blog-a-thon a few weeks ago. This is what I came up with in the hour and a half we were given. I chose the topic “digital nomad” and employed free writing principles to get the post done in that time frame. 

Hi I’m Pheladi and I’m an  interweb slore.

It started at the tender age of 16 when I was persuaded to open up a Facebook account in 2007. I didn’t really know what it was but the more I gave of myself the more I liked it. I moved there permanently a month later when I uploaded my first album. I did it on the sly in the computer room at the school’s library.

Soon enough I invited people over to live with me and when I got a new phone my new shelter went everywhere with me. The other places on the interwebs just didn’t have the same allure. Emails were cold, Hi5 left an abandoned building along with MySpace once FB took over.

When rent became cheaper circa 2009 my parents finally smelt the roses of the millennia and got us internet at “home”. This is when my relationship status changed, to “in a relationship” for the first time.

The first thing I did when I woke then was check for new FB activity. In the car on the way to school I ignored my dad’s random unfunny jokes to see how many new likes I had since I posted my hilarious yet tragic new status. At school we posed for photo’s behind what now seems like ginormous camera’s to be posted later that night. We picked on each other via comments – someone’s humiliation bringing out the snark that I suppose was always brimming on the surface.

Until then I had really only cheated on FB once, with Mxit – but I’m not sure that that counts, I used that for my private life, not my interwebs life (there’s a difference).

I became a real slore when I went to varsity. I was a media student, a gateway drug to the interwebs. I had clearly left Kansas and even learnt what an interweb slore is via the wireless tentacles that kept pulling me in.

Let me school you

  • Interweb(s) – Derived from the real word ‘internet’. I learnt this word on black twitter. Timeline unknown (unremembered really).
  • Slore – An adjective of sorts, combines the word “slut” and “whore” to mean ultra promiscuous. First heard on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, streamed live via free varsity data.

FB was my main chick, but I had an insatiable appetite that needed to be filled. I saw YouTube on the way to lunch with a friend, I introduced myself and we hit it off. I had just gone through a bad break up on FB which made it difficult to stay loyal (don’t get me wrong I was on everyday – it just hurt) – so YouTube provided all the happiness I required, especially the musical kind.

Twitter was love at first site, I was shy at first because (s)he was already with so many of my other friends, that and the fact that I think everything is lame until I try it. We took it slow at first (aka I trolled other people’s timelines for “research”). I made the first move as @sista_rebz – 5 months later and 5 000 tweets later we were practically married. At which point my slightly advanced Nokia got stolen by two white “plumbers” and I got degraded to tweeting from twitter for mobile. I spent about R200 on airtime a week to keep up the all-consuming union.

I also suffered a tremendous blow to my twitter image, everyone was tweeting from “twitter for Blackberry” by then. But there I was tweeting “via mobile” but who said socks with sandals isn’t cool – not me because I still managed to keep up with the BB kids hitting the 10 000 tweet mark in under year of joining.

The exposure to things and stuff on other people’s timelines pushed me into a digital wormhole I may never escape from. It started with starting something new with some new .com every other month. I began IM’ing, skyping, tumblring, checking in on foursquare, feeding my brain with wiki leaks (or forced spills if you will), listening to sounds on the clouds, trying to be “profesh” by linking in and and and.

All these things I am now on (with) help me in my professional life as a journalist. I’ve since lost contact with what was my first love – I keep FB close, an app on my homepage even but that’s about it. The need for likes wore off when I got to know him/her better. Juggling these other loves is difficult and data consuming but I stay stumbling upon, flipping boards, sending grams and +1’ing because, the interweb.


Xoxo – Gossip Girl!

Gossip Girl” has left the lavish penthouses of New York’s Upper East Side to wreak havoc on our very own West Campus.
On April 13, a number of people noticed that they were being followed on twitter by a user with the handle @WestGG.

This is how they first got wind of Wits’ own gossip girl.She then became active the very next day, sending out tweets containing very personal information about the people she followed.

“She insinuated that I was dating one of my close friends, who was actually in another relationship at the time. It was very childish,” said Yandani Bashman, 4th year LLB.

“GG also taunted an individual about their sexual orientation which is extremely sensitive stuff, so in that regard it can get really hurtful,” said a person who did not want to be named.

Tweeters mobilised to report the account as spam so gossip girl could be suspended, to which the account replied, “you can report me as spam if you wish, but you know I’ll keep coming back.”

Twitter policy does not allow for users to carry abusive content in their tweets. Violating this rule could lead to the suspension of an account.
After being suspended once, gossip girl created a new account under the name @westcampusgg. This account didn’t last long either but was around long enough to cause a stir in the rumour mill.Tweeters again responded by marking her tweets as spam. But all the spam reports couldn’t keep her down as she started a new account for a third time on April 16.

“I felt that it was extremely juvenile but it had the potential to ruin people’s relationships and caused a deep level of distrust within circles of friends,” said one of the account’s most tweeted victims, Livhuwani Makungo, 3rd year BCom Marketing.
“She/he seemed to focus her/his (tweets) on my previous relationship claiming that I was unfaithful and slanderous as if it was a form of retribution. All allegations made against me were false,” said Makungo.

Gossip girl had a lot to say about a past relationship that Makungo had been in. In her tweets she tagged his previous girlfriend and the girls she claims he cheated with.“For the most part I laughed and brushed it off but I did worry about how it affected those who were implicated,” Makungo said.

“Her tweets were out of hand and unnecessary. Whoever is behind the account must just come forward and explain themselves,” said Bashman. He added that there was speculation about who might be behind the account but he believes that there are a number of people responsible for the tweeting.
Another person, who did not want to be named, said they believed the person behind the account must be someone they all know on a very personal level, especially because of the level of information the West Campus gossip girl had access to.


To tweet or not to tweet…

…that is the question.

Okay I lie, there is no question – I just like drama. I have to tweet, scrap that – I need to tweet. I just need to do it differently to how I have been.

We had a class on the how to tweet, when to tweet and what to tweet by our social media lecturer Dinesh Balliah. She presented the lesson to us with an impressive PowerPoint presentation. It made me realise how important twitter is as a social media tool.

Not to say I never thought about it like that, but I never considered how it can empower tweeps, journalists in particular. The gist of the presentation looked at the fact that social media is no longer just about chatting to your mates and discussing the mundane. Social media is now used as a platform to disseminate vital information – sharing video’s, link’s and photo’s that focus on hard news and issues, as and when they happen. Beyond that getting to engage meaningfully with a diverse range of people. As opposed to the ins and outs of little Hannah’s fifth birthday party or the very particular description of that morning’s breakfast.

Social media, if used wisely can essentially “make” you as a journalist. Even though twitter in particular has the power of launching people into (sometimes) illusory prominence. It’s not to say that journalists don’t have legit followers, who largely follow them based on the content of their tweets rather than pure popularity.

By the end of the lesson I was questioning how I have been using twitter for the past two years. That night I had a look through my archive and I realised that my 30k tweets are mostly annoying. There is a lot of whining and whingeing – some of which is funny but a lot of it isn’t.  I imagine it an irksome experience going through my TL. Especially when I was in a particularly good/bad mood – I felt it my duty to inform the world, ALL THE TIME (see what I mean). However, most of them are informative and go beyond the purely personal.

I guess this whole post has been a roundabout way of saying I need to change my tweeting habits. If not for my not-so-distant career, for the sanity of my followers. I won’t go as far as creating a personal account and a seperate professional one.I already manage four blogs, two facebook pages and three email accounts amongst other things. I could not possibly add a new twitter profile to the lot. Along with this I am deeply devoted to my twitter as is, it just screams Pheladi through and through.

I will attempt to tastefully and strategically mix the personal and the professional. It might be a challenge but I’m sure I’ll manage.