Twitter and Clay

Clay Muganda is a good writer, I dare say a very good one though some might disagree.  I have been reading him since his articles and pieces started appearing the the dailies and magazines here and that is a couple of years ago.  I particularly like the Clay Court column in the Daily Nation, it makes for good reading on any morning. also his cricket analysis is spot-on.  That said, Clay does sometimes goes in bouts of literary overkill.  Where his writing becomes too focused on shaming and ridiculing his subject that he loses focus of the subject itself instead focuses mainly on adjectives to paint and colour his ridicule.

His latest piece is an example of this.  Reading Clay’s article on the surface it seems well thought out and clear, but once one tries to understand what twitter actually is, his article loses meaning.

First one should bear in mind that twitter is not a newspaper/magazine nor is it radio station or television, it differes from these media in the way it is used.  Once someone signs up and decides that his/her timeline will consist of updates of his bowel movements they are free and in fact encouraged are by twitter to do so, seeing as the question is ‘What’s happening’?.  The fact that this might turn away any prospective followers is a choice he/she has to live with.  Following any user is a deliberate act actualized by you clicking the follow button, it is not forced.  Twitter does not and will never have caveats on what someone can tweet, save for legal remedial measures that any offended party may seek.  Something to note here is that using twitter to defame is not without punishment as courts in the UK and US have shown us.

I, myself have bored people who follow me with drunken tweets, offended them with derogatory statements and galled them with inanities and this has been rewarded with being unfollowed.  In many situations I have been schooled leading to retractions. Clay himself did this once.

What is I find interesting about the article is that Clay attempts to educate, through chastizing, twitter users of habits that he himself indulges in.  The whole issue of herd mentality which he talks about as he attempts to reply to tweets consequent to his article falls on its face due to the fact that he goes about re-tweeting others who are in agreement with his article, attempting to coalesce with these, but wants the subjects of his ridicule to suffer singly.  I write this not as a group but as an individual who has been using twitter for a while now, and mostly without any incidences of abuse or online fights.

Twitter can sometimes be bile inducing what with Trending Topics that dont make sense, hashtags that irritate and serial re-tweeters but such is the medium, you have to accept it warts and all.  The most important thing on twitter, I think, is that YOU the user are the filter, the unfollow button is your friend, use it!  Create lists and place your followers in them according to the importance of their tweets to you and your irritability levels will go down.

This is not not to say that Clay’s article is totally incorrect, he does raise important points about the Brand Kenya Board and many goings on wrong in our society.  Points that we would be follish to ignore.  Another issue the article and the subsequent debate raises though not directly is online bullying which though not exclusive to, is slowly rearing its ugly head on the Kenyan twitter-sphere.  He is absolutely correct in many matters in the article but with his assessment of twitter use in Kenya, I fear he is grossly misinformed.

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8 thoughts on “Twitter and Clay

  1. I like ClayCourt all this time it has been running on Daily Nation. One thing I know about socialmedia is that it can’t be defined for the simple reason that you can’t define the concept of a market! Whatever is being sold there, whoever is selling, the brokers, the brokers brokers, the municipal agents, thieves, robbers, nudists,madmen and women….. high standard and poor quality goods and everything in between…! That is my concept of Socialmedia and one gets in there for a reason…… like the mad man or the broker. It’s one’s choice what to do in there and what to avoid.

  2. I agree with you totally, where people fail is when they try to ‘gate-keep’ information being churned out. Social media is personal to the user that is something all of us have to understand.

  3. Well he has a colourful history in the past with social media and I don’t see how twitter got dragged into his article on protests – unless Atwoli used twitter to announce his strike threats

  4. @Banks me thinks Clay is one of those controversy junkies, one of those ‘rattle them and they’ll read’ sort of guys…

  5. Kip, Clay’s cricket comments are wrong at best, compromised at worst, and most likely just lazy and biased. His writing in my opionion is quite undeveloped. He has a sense of grandeur that his abilities do not support. I suspect further investigation (should anyone be bothered) would find that he is an a range of payrolls. I think there is a very strong place in the media for the kind of article he wants to write, he just isn’t up to it.

  6. you raise some fundamental questions, unfortunately, i don’t have the right mental dispensation, seeing as it is very late at night, to point them out adequately. However, nice and powerful piece.

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