• Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

A letter to Twitter

ByGouthama Siddarthan

Mar 8, 2023

“Only when small changes happen in the society, the dimensions of the great miracles hidden in human life come to surface.”
– Leo Tolstoy.


Dear CEO of Twitter,

I am Gouthama Siddarthan. Let me introduce myself to you.


Living in Tamil Nadu in India, I have long been into the profession of writing in my mother tongue, Tamil. I have earned some reputation as a modern literary writer, poet, critic, translator and journalist as well, all combined into one, having 25 published books of fiction, poetry and essays to my credit. Moreover, my works have been translated in 23 international languages and brought out as 10 books till date. I have been a columnist in Spanish, Russian, Italian and French.


I have been running English and Tamil journals in print. Under my editorship, the small-time Tamil literary journals named Unnatham (Greatness), Tamili and Metabook and the English magazine, namely, Alephi are being brought out. I was also running websites Tamil and English and of the two, I have stopped for now the English portal.


Additionally in November 2016 I launched a literary app named AlephiReadsapp which was doing yeoman service to literature by collating all information on art, literature, events, book publications and book reviews and bringing them to the international literary buffs with the necessary links to the websites concerned. But unfortunately financial constraints have forced me to walk out on the app for now.


I have, for the past few years, been quite active in Twitter, watching the trends. It is indeed amazing that you have provided a platform to the voices of the voiceless and contributed to the further development of English by adding new words to the language. The credit for triggering great momentous revolutions such as #Arabspring, #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, #BringBackOurGirls, #FarmersProtest must go to the Twitter. Above all, you have given recognition to hashtag (#), a revolutionary innovation, and thereby paved way for ethical and moral initiatives based on justice the world over. Your pan-world media-related activities are will be etched in gold letters in the annals of human history.


Yet I feel a little embarrassed to point out that as a man seamlessly using hashtagl, I have found at several points of time the inadequacy of this hashtag for its single dimension seems to have lost its meaning.


The modern digitally conscious human life does not travel on a single-dimensioned, flat and banal trajectory. It is a long, multi-dimensioned travel branching off in boundless extensions. I have frequently realized that the use of this hashtag is not so adequate as to be in sync with several dimensions of thecomplicated and labyrinthine modern life.


It is after understanding the need for pushing the hashtag to the next level and after strenuous efforts I have taken to create a multi-dimensioned symbol that I have come up with a newly designed D Hash ஥.


I would like to demonstrate this new D Hash ஥ with an example.


We all know that last year after the U.S. President Joe Biden took charge, various bad happenings were reported following his serious initiatives to bring the Afghanistan war to an end. At that time, #BidenDisaster became trendy.


We can view this episode from a different perspective. Supposing that some opposition is mounting against Biden for some global episode, #WeHate Biden will hog the limelight. Again supposing that after a while, Biden is praised for some good action of his, the hashtag trend will be like this: #WeLoveBiden. My argument is that in that event, I would like to have the old-style # replaced with a newly designed symbol (D Hash).


You may remember that in 2014 in Nigeria when over 200 school girls were kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram, #BringBackOurGirls became trendy. Consequently when the girls were redeemed, I asked myself if it would be appropriate to use the same hashtag reacting to the rescue event. Then I was struck by an idea of forming and floating a new version of hashtag that would contain a metaphor of protest connoting a subtle critique and indirect criticism of the event. So, the new-look hashtag would assume several dimensions.


Similarly we can talk about the flows of various matters, highlighting the changing qualities of several fields. When the content of a subject is spoken about subsequently, if it is found to have changed contrary to its original version or taken a new form, the use of the customary hashtag is quite inadequate in that it does not capture the changed position of the content of the subject. It was out of thinking on these lines that the new-look D Hash ஥ was designed in order to plug the gaps in the use of hashtag.


Here one may ask if the new D Hash ஥ cannot be used in the context of recording one’s position for the first time on a subject or an event and if this is meant only for use in subsequent posts on a subject.


The answer to this question is an emphatic ‘no.’ The uniqueness of this new-look hashtag is that every time it is used, it operates throwing up new perspectives. Only when top-notch social media platforms like Twitter accept this D Hash ஥ and start bringing it into effect, its impact, newness and powerful reach can be realized. A constant and committed use of this new form by Twitter users will surely go a long way in boosting its growth.


At this point I would like to share a couple of points by way of an example.


1. The hashtag trending is the primary feature of Twitter. Unlike other social media channels, Twitters quantifies the trending and conveys to its users the related data separately. But the operation of my new invention, D Hash ஥, is not the normal type of hashtag. The moment the cursor gets placed on this D Hash, the data on how many users have made their posts is shown instantly. I have designed it in such a way that it can be put into operation very easily on any social media platform.


2. This D Hash ஥ is just an extension of the well-known hashtag, bearing newer perspectives and giving new dimensions to the subject it is used in connection with. In the case of the Nigerian girls kidnap, #BringBackOurGirls that slammed the tragedy was very much in the limelight. On the subsequent developments involving the piecemeal rescue of the girls, the old hashtag continued to be used, having no fresher perspectives on the subject or offering no new meaning to the experience. Rather if in the place of hashtag D Hash ஥ is used in the following style – ஥bringBackOurGirls or ஥CameBackOurGirls, newer meanings will likely crop up such as ‘Let the remaining girls also be rescued.’ In fact, the D Hash ஥ is a follow-up on the event reported for the first time.


Against the background, a single click on the D Hash ஥ will carry one to the page of the D Hash group concerned. A double click will conjure up the original event’s hashtag # page.


This D Hash ஥ need not be used for revolutionary activities or acts of activism alone. This can be employed in all subjects pertaining to environmentalism, food, culture, haute couture, sports, celebrations, festivals, art and literature, films and politics. When the D Hash ஥ spans several subjects, it will come across as a force shining with a powerful combo of tradition and modernity, offering newer and fresher insights into the subjects concerned. I have shared a few things here by way of an introduction to the D Hash ஥.


It is a deep and analytical thinking on these lines which has given birth to this new-look D Hash ஥ which will guarantee new experiences to the users accustomed to certain things ad nauseam.


D Hash ஥ is indeed a new-look hashtag about whose operations I have briefly spoken to the prospective users. Keeping all these in mind, I request you to consider using this new hashtag on your esteemed social media platform.


If you like to have a one-on-one conversation with me, I am always at your disposal, willing to come all the way to meet you.


That Twitter is a platform always willing to take in innovative thoughts and a social space recognizing modern thinking ushering in social justice is borne out by its footsteps imprinted on the sands of history and by the fact that when Chris Messina approached Twitter with his invention of hashtag, the latter gave recognition to it though belatedly.


I salute Chris Messina as an inventor of the hashtag and also as an inspiration to me to invent this D Hash ஥.


“I alone cannot change the world. But in order to create ripples I can drop a stone into the water,” said Mother Teresa.


I would like to round off this letter, putting forward her golden words and offering my inexhaustible greetings on behalf of the over 2,000-year-old Tamil tradition of lofty thought.


Yours sincerely,
Gouthama Siddarthan

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