BY NOU VADA
This is a story I wrote for the National Weekender and is the story that got me blacklisted from The National newspaper. No hard feelings from me - NV
"HELP @MANGIWANTOK TAKE THE TRUTH about #PNG to #Australia #Deakin University".
That was the tweet I posted on twitter a few days ago along with a link to a story on veteran journalist Keith Jackson's blog PNG Attitude.
It was about Deakin University's invitation to outspoken PNG blogger Martyn Namorong for Martyn to present a paper on PNG and to sit in a panel of experts in a two-day PNG seminar that will be held in Australia.
Keith and I saw the need to make an appeal for assistance in making Martyn's trip happen.
Now Twitter is a micro-blog, a social network like Facebook. But where Twitter differs from Facebook is that Facebook has evolved to become a complete as possible virtual representation of you, while Twitter has stayed to its blogging origins.
This is reflected in your ability to put down anything as your username on your profile whereas Facebook requires that you use your real name in creating your profile.
Twitter's operational philosophy centres around succinctness - the retail, fast-food, over-the-counter, buai stall experience. Convenience by necessity has to translate to succinctness.
Twitter achieves this by making the user experience centre around the tweet. The tweet is the equivalent to a status update on Facebook. Instead of posting or sharing in a Facebook group or page or event, Twitter employs a simple hashtag.
What is a hashtag? If the '#' character is placed before PNG (#PNG), people all over the world on Twitter, the twitterverse as it is called, who have a special interest in PNG will be able to read that entire tweet with its attached link.
The hashtag creates a topic. #PNG was one of the most popular topics in the world at the height of the political impasse in the country. When a topic of interest becomes very popular, the topic, in the Twitter vocabulary is said to ‘trend’.
Now a tweet only permits 140 characters. That is a great difference from Facebook's seemingly limitless allowance in status updates and timeline posts/wall posts.
So, I want to let Martyn Namorong (@Mangiwantok) know that I'm helping in looking for assistance to make his trip happen, and at the same time I am letting people who will read the #PNG, #Australia and #Deakin hashtags that Martyn Namorong (@Mangiwantok) needs help in getting to Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia from his 3 Mile buai stall in Port Moresby from where he sells his buai and does his writing.
By ridding the user experience of tedious barriers, Twitter creates a unique information flow for users that is a mere handful but is effective nevertheless. The reaction from the #Deakin tweet users was very swift.
I started receiving emails from Deakin students and academics seeking information on Martyn's presentation and asking how they could help. I even had an argument with someone on my Twitter profile @nouvada over my mistaken accreditation of Martyn as the person who coined the phrase 'sheeple'.
That single tweet gave @nouvada four new followers. Followers are to Twitter what friends, subscriptions and page likes are to Facebook. You follow people, organisations and products and they can follow you on Twitter.
The humanisation that Facebook champions is kept in a state of suspended animation in Twitter. In a way, this is important. One of the key reasons why there is right now a backlash on Facebook is it's attempt to fully mimic in a virtual environment of the human social experience.
This, of course, can never be achieved in a social network where connectivity is still achieved through the efforts of the lowly mouse and keyboard and their cousin, the touchpad.
Twitter on the other hand, stays true to its string and thread origins. At the end of the day, People from Hanuabada to New York to Tari station to the international space station don't want to forego the actual human experience for an inadequate virtual imitation.
At best, social networks are there to enhance the human experience, not to supersede it, and that is what Twitter stays true to.
Warning to would-be tweeps, though, there aren’t too many Papua New Guineans on Twitter, and if you've successfully integrated Facebook into your life, the Twitter interface and experience will at first seem difficult and mechanical. #giveitatry.
After I sent this the Editor informed me that management had given instructions for the newspaper not to publish anything from me. The stated reason was that I own Edebamona blog. It is also because the Rimbunan Hijau dislikes Martyn Namorong greatly. The writer's lot is not an easy one. The blogger's is just fuck up. Have a nice day, folks