Everyone is going cuckoo over Koo, the yellow clone of the blue bird called Twitter, the world's mightiest microblogging platform. Koo is being called the Indian Twitter like Weibo is called the Chinese Twitter. But there's no Twitter in China and Weibo is all that the average Chinese has. There's Twitter in India and by virtue of her sheer population, India is one of the biggest markets for Twitter if not the biggest. It's a mutual relationship. Koo is Indian, Twitter is global. Koo is fledgling, Twitter is entrenched.
Koo is being called the Indian Twitter like Weibo is called the Chinese Twitter. (Photo: Reuters)
To koo or not to koo is the question. The answer is that the blue bird is still your best bet because, well, the reach. Tweet, retweet, subtweet, quote-tweet, Tweeple and Twitterati are part of our lexicon. Koo is yet to get that kool, what to do? You tweet a post, you post a tweet, you do you. You tweet a tweet, do you koo a koo? For over two years, Koo was an egg (remember the default Twitter DP?), that seems to have hatched by the heat generated by a tiff between the California-based social media giant and the giant of a government sitting in New Delhi. The signal hasn't turned red. The government that can't do jack about pigeon poo raining on its building is yellow-signalling @Jack by joining Koo. Its supporters are acking and sending thoo too.
#Twitterban trended on Twitter as Koo-getters trashed Twitter on Twitter because trashing something on Twitter is still something trashing something on Koo is yet to be.
The government says it has had enough of Twitter's arguments of American-style Freedom of Speech. This ain't America. Americans gave themselves a Constitution and the very First Amendment they made in it was to free speech of all restrictions. On the other hand, the very First Amendment we made to our Constitution was to introduce reasonable restrictions on Freedom of Speech. Now reasonable is such an unreasonable adjective for restrictions. Because you can reason anything to be reasonable. Since the government swears by the Constitution, it wants Twitter to be reasonable and remove what it finds unreasonable tweets and accounts. Reasonable is subjective.
Farmers are agitating on the borders of Delhi. On Twitter, free-for-all and all, some called the government action on protesting farmers a #farmersgenocide. Now that is what you call an uber-exaggeration of the oppression but then Twitter is an amplification tool and nothing succeeds like excess on social media. Not everyone is a Subtle Bihari Vajpayee in India, some say it aloud too. We are loud in LoL and in mourning. Loud enough to startle the dead. Twitter believes these hashtags can be countered with hashtags. Like Mia Khalifa's support for #farmerprotests was countered by Sachin Tendulkar's support for #IndiaTogether. Unable to bear the heavy breathing down its slender neck, Twitter blinked suspended 257 accounts the government ordered it to. An outrage ensued. Twitter was shamed into restoring those accounts. The breathing down the neck thing became heavier so Twitter suspended those accounts again.
This tiff between the government and Twitter has led to rumours that a sword is hanging over the blue bird. (Photo: Reuters)
The blink came with a wink this time. Some accounts in the list will not be suspended, especially those of journalists, political activists and media organisations. This tiff has led to rumours that a sword is hanging over the blue bird and there is enough heat below it to roast it alive. Hence the rush to Koo but most Tweeters are Kooing only to book their seats in the new train, just in case the Twitter train is derailed. Koo is to Twitter today what Signal is to WhatsApp.
Everybody and their aunts are announcing on WhatsApp that they are on Signal. A virtue signal of sorts. Pretty much nothing else happens on Signal India. Similarly, people are cooing about joining Koo. On Twitter.
Right now, Twitter has the critical mass. In India. In China, it was never allowed in. That's how Weibo flourished. Yet, the Chinese State and several prominent citizens are on Twitter, thanks to VPN. If, in that rare case, Twitter is blocked by the government, expect VPN subscriptions to shoot up because conversation is not moving out of Twitter anytime soon. Twitter or for that matter Facebook are big but not too big to be overrun by a new app. You never know when a new disruptor crushes Twitter out to oblivion. But Koo is not that disruptor and now is not the time. A clone is a clone. TikTok was banned and multiple Indian clones rushed in to fill the vacuum. But no one could become the Indian TikTok. The vacuum is doing better than the fillers.
Twitter hasn't even been banned. So, go throw your handkerchief and block that seat on Koo train if you please. And then go and tweet: "Follow me on koo, because I followed you here, you!"