Pandemic turns ‘serious’ Twitter into personal chill out place

The last 150 days or so have brought several changes in our lives and if you notice the ‘serious’ Twitter turned into a personal chill-out place — with users posting birthday snaps, pet animal videos, sunsets and rainbows, hand-written messages from kids, recipes for mouth-watering biryanis and cakes and what not, on the micro-blogging platform — make sure the ongoing pandemic has triggered these behavioural changes.

Twitter which was treated as a simple yet effective tool for debates, to hold meaningful conversations and help people make a social impact with their powerful dialogues to date, has now become a platform to share memories and the lines are somewhat blurred.

For civil right crusaders, journalists, social activists and more such souls who aim to connect with people on burning societal issues, Twitter has always been a tool to appraise powers-that-be of what is going on around them, and respond to world leaders who treat it as a “typewriter’.

Twitter is no Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp or Facebook but a broad public forum, with troll armies aiming to disrupt the conversations, and the algorithms reining in, blocking or removing bots and fake accounts.

With nowhere to go as Covid-19 caseloads surge in India, people have made Twitter their second home and sharing personal, intimate information is no more treated as an aberration.

The trend has been well noticed by Twitter. For them, the platform has become a larger community space for people to share things they usually do on other social media platforms.

According to Manish Maheshwari, Managing Director, Twitter India, their work has never been more critical and the service has never been in higher demand.

“Amid ongoing times, people have been taking to Twitter to stay connected while they are physically restricted and distanced, and it is giving them a much needed sense of community. In India, we are seeing a surge in varied conversations about how people are spending their time at home,” Maheshwari told IANS.

Topics like baking, binge-watching, sports, reading, health and fitness have seen an uptick in the recent months on Twitter.

“We are also seeing a change in the perception of Twitter from an English-focused space to a more inclusive service,” Maheshwari informed.

According to a recent Twitter report, 51 percent of Twitter’s Indian users Tweet in English and 49 per cent in languages other than English.

Over the years, public conversations on Twitter have shaped the popular discourse and contemporary culture. The platform is now brimming with diverse conversations across a range of interest-based themes such as food, science, photography, pets, parenting and so much more.

What you see on Twitter today is a diverse public view of the world — from funny personal moments to serious global events, from sensible tips to zany reactions, from pop culture phenomenon to societal protests, and everything in between.

“That’s why the reflection of recent times is so fascinating to see what we have collectively talked about — be it Covid-19 related news to updates about new movie releases, sports, politics, social causes and so much more,” Twitter India said.

Whether one is celebrating family moments, posting about festivities, expressing their pride in successfully trying out a new recipe or appreciating someone else’s work from home routine, people in India and across the world are turning to Twitter to share what they’ve witnessed, document what’s happening in real-time, and communicate with one another.

“More importantly, in recent times, we have seen Twitter’s ability to instantaneously connect people to the help they are seeking, with good samaritans utilising the power of the real-time service to help one another. #KindnessTwitter is one such example that brings out these stories,” Twitter India said.

People on Twitter are expressing themselves in many ways — Fleets, voice Tweets, or a good old text, video or picture Tweet.

“We are grateful to be able to provide a space that people can turn to for keeping themselves informed, connected and entertained, no matter where they are from and what language they Tweet in,” Maheshwari said.