March 24, 2010

Red shirt seeing red?

So I managed to get myself into a mini dust-up on Twitter today. I saw the esteemed Richard Barrow of the Paknam Web empire retweet something from @RedPhanFa2Day, a Twitter moniker I hadn't seen before.

Clicking through to the user's Twitter page I found this mini-bio: "The official Twitter account for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) red-shirts protest rally at Phan Fa Bridge."

Official, eh? Interesting. The account had only posted three tweets, and had about 10 followers. Seeing they were new to the game, I figured I'd help out by giving them some free publicity:
The "official"(?) 2010 UDD protest Twitter account: @RedPhanFa2Day (pretty awful choice of Twitter name, why not @redshirt2010 or sthing?)
I don't think I was being unduly skeptical. Anyone can *say* they are the official anything online. I will tell you right now that I am the official wallet inspector for the Greater Bangkok Metropolitan Area, but you'd be foolish to believe me.

This response arrived shortly thereafter:
@thai101 Tks 4 ur comment. There R numerous "red" twitter accs. This name was deliberately chosen to identify with this rally.
Fair enough. I still think it's not a good handle, because it could be catchier and easier to remember. But they're entitled to choose a bad name. And I'm entitled to think it's a bad name from a PR perspective, and to say so.

The other thing I noticed was their use of txtspeak, the hyper-shortened version of English. Even though Twitter has a 140-character limit, you can usually get your point across quite well without it. And I think those who want to present a professional image and be taken seriously should avoid it. I like to use it when I'm being ironic, but that's just me.

So maybe I was being snarky, but I was trying to give a genuine tip when I then replied:
@RedPhanFa2Day Also, it will increase your credibility if you don't tweet like you're in 6th grade.
Now, I'm rather certain that the next reply was from a totally different person, given the level of English. Or maybe I just drove them into a fit of uneditable rage. But I was genuinely surprised by it nonetheless (though it took me 11 hours to notice it, since they didn't tag my username properly):
@ thai101 Dont undastand offical? Then we know who the 6th grader is. We're tweeting 4 ppl who English is a 2nd language ot just rude expats
So apparently they're also tweeting for people who use English as a second language (not just rude expats), which somehow justifies their use of nonstandard English. Although somehow I think that if this really is their target audience, using words that people can't look up in the dictionary isn't the brightest idea.

To date there has been just one subsequent tweet from that account, which appears in normal English, apparently written by the original tweeter, not the one with diarrhea of the thumbs who lashed out at me.

All in all, if this really *is* an official Twitter account of the UDD rally (and I maintain that my question is perfectly valid -- official according to who? Weera? Thaksin? Lin Ping?), whoever has been put in charge of updating it is not very savvy with this whole social media thing.

But then again I'm just a rude expat.

13 comments:

  1. I can't find "sthing" in my dic ๆ (Just kidding). But srsly, I don't get "Dont undastand offical?". Anyway, I know it's not nice when you mean no offence but people are offended.

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  2. Haha, I knew someone would mention 'sthing'. But I never claimed to be tweeting for 2nd language learners, now did I? :P

    And I'm not the official representative of anything. So the point still stands, people won't take you very seriously if you claim to officially represent an organization and tweet like that.

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  3. Storm in a teacup.

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  4. I think you meant 'st0rm n a tcup'.

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  5. you nat anderstand anothing, you just rude sexpat. Go home if you no like red shirts.


    Nah, just teasing you, keep it up ;)

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  6. shouldn't they be tweating in thai or doesn't twitter support any foreign character sets ?

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  7. A dust up on twitter - surreal

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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  10. Have a look at @ photo_journ then have a look at some of the photos in RPF2D's blog, then have a look at some of the captions, then have a look at some of the re-tweets then have a look at the way the tone of the tweets changed from wednesday morning for the following couple of days, then .... not saying, just saying.

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  11. Y tweet w standard eng for da ESL peeps? This is just another example of the seeming nonexistence of logical thinking in this country.

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  12. Rikker - I heard your podcast with Greg/Tony and found it very interesting. Read this story on your blog and felt compelled to put in my 2 satangs. I agree with what you wrote about the txtspeak, however, I feel that the '6th grade' comment was unnecessary and would frankly get any reasonable person's 'back up'. I know you are a genuinely nice guy and I hope in the future you would take a slightly higher road in your replies.

    AV

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  13. Heh, you may well be right. I guess I hold myself to a lower standard than people pretending to the be official spokesmen for others.

    ReplyDelete