The Pakistani Twitterati

I started using Twitter a few months ago when several friends of mine couldn’t put a lid on gushing about how positively life-altering this social network is. They told me that it allows anyone to tweet about anything under the Sun. All you have to do is conjure up an attractive name with a medium-strong password like hairybelly123 and presto! You’re ready to dominate the world with your photoshopped avatar and somewhat witty status updates. For the first few weeks, I couldn’t believe that I was part of this revolutionary setup that consisted of people tweeting about their laundry and books they actually never read but wanted others to believe that they did. My life found a new purpose. God was happy with me.

Time passed by and I gained recognition for my pseudo-humor. People followed me and I followed a few of them. The ones that I did hit the green tab on were usually journalists, writers, bloggers or citizens who knew how to use grammar accurately. Then, one day, it dawned upon me: There were several easily-distinguishable types of users in the Pakistani-Twitter sphere. I also noticed how they followed each other almost obsessively and formed mini-clans on the desi world wide web. Gain better comprehension of the notion from this instance: Suppose Person A is on Twitter and wants to be famous among other desis. Person A can only secure such a status whence Minor Celebrity B and C decide to follow him. Otherwise he’s a loner.

However it isn’t just the minor celebrities, bloggers and politicians that the Pakistani Twitterati comprises of. There are passionate stalkers, haters and freaks that keep us entertained. I decided to categorize them so that you may know who you’re following (or unfollowing) on Twitter.

Bhatti the Bard:

Poetical and philosophical, constantly in search (online) for the answers to all of his questions, Bhatti the Bard is magical with his tweets. He quotes (and consequently ruins) the beauty of neoclassical and modern poetry in a constricting set of 140 characters. When life gives Bhatti a tough time, he signs into Twitter and quotes the first few verses of Hamlet’s Soliloquy and then adds a hash-tag of #Shakespeare to it so that the rest of the world may drown themselves into his tweet. Fifty to sixty people with extremely bad taste follow Bhatti and regard him as Pakistan’s version of Christopher Marlowe.


The Fairly Popular Writer:

With a master’s degree from a reputable university abroad, the Fairly Popular Writer tweets with panache. He doesn’t change his display picture much and shares his thoughts on world politics, literature and interesting videos in concise words. Despite having more than 1000 followers, the Fairly Popular Writer is modest and amiable. The female Fairly Popular Writer is a tad stingy compared to the nice dude. Rarely controversial though; no bashing them.

Mosharraf Zaidi looking his purple best.

The Harrassed Political Lady:

It’s a love-hate relationship with this woman, you see. I love her because she’s out there unlike most hesitant Asian women, answering the usually-stupid and often-obscene questions posed by the public. I hate her because she tweets about her branded clutch, husband’s receding hairline, inflation and military budget in one go. Plus her display picture attracts the Horny Brethren of Mandi Bahauddin and you have no idea how creepy that lot is. No idea at all.

The Desi Dei:

When I was little, I was fascinated by cults and secret societies with their own logos and codes. That curiosity never evaded me even after I turned 20. So when I joined Twitter, there were three mysterious men with very symbolic avatars and I always tried to find out what they actually looked like. One was a 5 rupee coin, the other was a crow and the third was a tea cup. If these three men (no, I’m not a misogynist for cancelling the possibility of them being females; they talk about sports excessively) had been dumb or slipped a grammatical mistake here or there, I wouldn’t have been this eager to rip their masks off. Later on, a blue rickshaw joined them. They all discuss regional and international politics and sports. Plus they won’t follow you unless or until you sound worth it.

The Constant Whiner:

Twitter is not your shrink no matter how cathartic you deem tweeting is. We all are fighting battles and we all know what pain is but Twitter is not going to help you cure your psychological agony. The Constant Whiner floods his/her timeline with tweets about how unfair God rendered their lives. “Ma homewurk suxxx”, one entered. I unfollowed her instantly.

The Behemoth Tweeter:

This type, I am certain, can be found in any culture around the world. As long as you have a pair of hands and ADHD, you have the potential to give me a minor aneurysm. Exceeding 10,000 tweets, this kind wins an award for Extremely Confident Virtual Shouting. Hell, even I’m shy; I got a meager 2300 tweets or so. Just cut down on the speed or I’ll cry.

The Campaigning Pakistani Pain:

Proudly tweeting about their political party and its objectives in nauseatingly-patriotic tones, this campaigner is a pain in the you-know-what. Thousands and thousands of people follow him and his green and white avatar. I don’t. Why? Well, if you can’t bring a substantial change in my city, I doubt you’ll initiate a revolution online.

The Female Journalist:

This type wins massive appreciation from my side for three basic reasons: 1. They’re women. 2. They’re Pakistani. 3. They’re journalists. Combine these three characteristics and you’re in my list of approved human beings. It’s not very easy to tweet about regional conflicts involving women, sexuality or social equality among a male-dominated network. I’ve seen many male users harass these ladies for speaking their minds and I’ve also witnessed those men having their ass handed back to them gracefully. In simple words: Kudos to you, lovelies.

And a special mention-of-the-week for the sweet and intelligent Kalsoom Lakhani of CHUP. Check out that glitz, baby.

The Venomous Hater:

He isn’t very well-conversed in English but he has a strong opinion nonetheless. This opinion has less to do with your tweet, more to do with why on Earth haven’t you followed him yet. He’s insulted and he’s not going to forgive you so soon. Not unless you follow him and give a +1 to his 6 followers. Oh wait, sorry. 4.

The Semi-Corporate Disgruntled Woman:

Her life in the morning sucks, by noon it’s bearable, by evening she’s high and by night she basically wishes the world would give her a foot massage. That world does not contain me, thank you.

The Cool Elderly Dude:

He’s probably two decades older than you and me but he’s centuries way cooler. Far more progressive, friendlier and funnier, he wins hearts all over Twitter.

The Obnoxious Harridan:

I have nothing to say about this type. She does not resemble me. At all.

P.S. A big thank you to the kind Shazia Ameen for letting me hog her laptop and upload this post.