All Things Twitter With Local Tweleb @Anjalaaay

You may know her as the unsung pun hero of local twitter or that girl who was just featured on BuzzFeed. In her personal sphere, Anjali is a 22-year-old Med student dabbling in embroidery and always providing us with relatable tweets in now 240 characters or less! Sometimes, the occasional article gets written about her, so I decided to ask to interview her for my all of ten readers, which she kindly agreed to.

anjali1.  When did you first join Twitter and start to enjoy using the platform?

I joined Twitter in 2011 when I was in grade 9. I didn’t really know what to do on it, but I got it because other people were talking about this new platform and celebrities were using it. I mainly interacted with my friends (replied to all my mentions, liked and retweeted everything). From the start, I used Twitter to express my sense of humour and things that I found funny. Most of the time other people didn’t find them funny, but I tweeted my puns and stupid jokes out anyway. I had about 200 followers back then and every time I got 4 or more RTs I was delighted. In 2015, when I started university, I decided to dedicate more time to social media (obviously a very appropriate time to do this). I remember always thinking that the popular people on (Muslim) Twitter who had 1000+ followers were unimaginably cool that I said to my friends one day, “I’m going to become part of Muslim Twitter.” I started following more people, and that’s what helped me gain a following. I’d say that the time I started aiming for that goal was when I really started enjoying Twitter as a platform. Although the character of my humour has shifted from being light-hearted and pun-based to being more self-deprecating, self-critical and reflective, the overall aim of my Twitter account has remained the same: I want to make people happier, even if they just crack a tiny smile at something stupid I’ve said.

[speaking as a member of Muslim Twitter, we are one hot mess]

  2. How has the platform helped you grow as a person? 

The biggest thing I’ve gained from Twitter is access to other people’s knowledge, opinions and perspectives. I’ve come to understand why Fees Must Fall, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights, Me Too and every other big political movement is important because I have had the opportunity to read ordinary people’s real experiences. I have also learned to be observant of the injustices around me and be more open to the opinions and experiences I have as a millennial, woman, and medical student. I get a lot of comfort from Twitter, seeing that almost everything I struggle with is not unique to me, and thousands of other people on this platform are going through similar problems while supporting each other with humour and advice. I think the more I share, the more I can give that comfort and humour back to my followers.

[ at least we know the secret to her success and relatability now]

3. How do you balance the demands of your degree and maintain an online presence?

To be honest, Twitter is very often a source of procrastination for me. I’ve found myself scrolling through it while I’m supposed to be studying, and it is often during these moments that I come up with my most frequent and best tweets. However, Twitter has never solely gotten in the way of my pursuit of academic success because I am already an easily distracted person who will always find something that’ll sidetrack me. Adding on to that, tweeting is not a time-consuming action at all. I don’t dedicate time every day to think only about crafting tweets; instead, they are created in the form of sudden thoughts. I immediately spend 30 seconds making sure my thought is worded in a comprehensive and amusing way, and I either save it to be tweeted later or tweet it immediately. There has never been a need to balance demands because tweeting is not demanding to me at all.

[ we could all probably learn a thing or two in terms of time management and academic excellence from Anjali, me especially for that test I should be studying for]

4. Do you feel confident representing our country and local Twitter on such a global platform?

I don’t entirely see myself as a good representative for South Africa on Twitter, mainly because I am part of such a small minority. I’m Indian and a medical student, two things that most South Africans are not. If someone were to ask me to identify the best aspects of SA Twitter, I’d point them to every black person on there because black people are incredibly funny and encompass the true essence of SA spirit and culture. Black Twitter is definitely the fun portion of Twitter. I’ve learned a lot from South African black Twitter myself and I always laugh at their tweets (when they’re in English lolololol). I find Cape Town is a bit more relatable to me, and I think I fit in well with the local Twitter crowd (although I don’t have many friends on the platform). I’d feel more confident representing local Twitter. Overall, I just try to express my more general thoughts and experiences as a student, a person in their 20s, a person of colour, et cetera. I do this so that I can appeal to and be relatable to more people.

[As a fellow South African Indian woman, I thank you for your representation of us]

5. Which of your tweets did you never expect to go viral and why?

I never expect any of my tweets to go viral, to be honest. When one of them does I’m always so surprised. Sometimes I’ll craft a tweet and put a lot of effort into wording it just right and I think, “This is hilarious, it’s definitely going to go viral.” Those ones never do. Instead, it’s always the ones that require minimal thought and effort that blow up. I’ve never understood why that is and I never will, but such is the unpredictable nature of virality.

[It never is the tweets we think it will be]

6. How does your family feel about the fame surrounding you? 

The thing is, I’m not famous because no one recognises me in person and my popularity on Twitter doesn’t impact my life in a way that my family would recognise. Therefore, they don’t have any strong feelings about my Twitter “fame”. Sometimes they’ll ask me how many followers I currently have, and when I tell them they’re temporarily in awe, but the conversation moves on swiftly. My cousins sometimes talk about my Twitter, but again, it’s never a big deal to me.

[ I can’t imagine how many times your tweets have ended up as WhatsApp stories]

7. Do you often get dragged for being a “Tweleb” by your friends? 

I do, all the time. My friends Azrah and Hoosain exaggerate how “famous” I am at least once a day and talk about how they want to meet Kanye West through me, stuff like that. When someone else mentions in person that I’m popular on Twitter, I know that as soon as that person walks away I’m going to get dragged. I won’t lie, it’s pretty funny when they do that and I always fail to keep a straight face.

[when you do meet Kanye, please ask him to stop designing whatever he has been tweeting lately, for the greater good, we need you!]

8. Is there now a pressure to always be tweeting relatable and popular content?

Sometimes. I go through phases where I can come up with lots of good tweets every day for weeks, but other times life becomes stressful and busy and I struggle to think of something good to tweet. I often start to panic if I can’t come up with a good tweet, but I try to draft at least one per day to maintain my account and give people a reason to keep following me.

[She’s human too guys!]

9. When can we expect Anjali merch (I am not kidding)?

Probably never! If anyone is interested, I do embroidery as a hobby and take custom orders. I’ll have a website soon (www.anjalaaay.com) through which you can place orders.

[ I am counting on all ten of my readers to support Anjali’s future endeavours and yes, I made the same joke twice. Life is tough.]

10. What would you like to say to the people who have supported you and watched you grow over the years? 

I really want to be humble, but I might not sound humble when I say this, so please excuse me for a moment. I would like to say thank you to everyone who has followed me, taken the time to read any of my tweets and allowed me to have some impact on their emotional state (hopefully only positive!). There are people who have been following me since 2015, and some even before that. You guys are really the best. I’ve learned so much from all of you over the years, and I will always try to contribute to the pool of humorous and relatable content on Twitter because it is you guys whom I want to make happy. I love Twitter because it’s filled with thousands of amazing people and countless opportunities for growth that I’m so grateful for. So, in essence, thank you for following me and I hope you will continue enjoying my tweets!

I’d like to conclude by thanking Anjali for her time and insight. I hope you had as much fun answering these questions as I did making them. I cannot wait to see you enjoy unbridled success in the future.

Lastly, I will leave a list of Anjali’s greatest hits.

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An open letter to the Social Justice Warriors of the web

DISCLAIMER: This is in no way shape or form meant to serve as some form of ridiculous judgement or ‘shade throwing’ , it is merely based on my personal observations as seen on the internet and is strictly then a generalisation , if this does not apply to you , great wonderful my sincerest apologies for lumping  you into a large group of people . THIS IS MY OWN OPINION , which you can choose to take into consideration or discard into the useless abyss that is life . This is my free space to say what I believe and I urge you to not quote me out of context. I cannot emphasize enough that this my PERSONAL view and I am indeed a flawed human and  I do not believe my opinion is the be all and end all and am willing to consider others and grow a person without compromising my core beliefs.

Activism seems to be the special on the menu of life these days , and I am all for it, provided there is a just cause.

Firstly , I would like to start off on a positive note and thank you for your contribution to my life and knowledge. I am not a person who believes that social media activism is futile for I have first hand seen the immense power of a collective group of people all over the world in educating and bringing about change as demonstrated by the #FEESMUSTFALLMOVEMENT . Through social media my eyes have been widened to many injustices and learned of new concepts such as white privilege , reverse racism (or lack thereof) and cultural appropriation to name a few. For this I am grateful as it has allowed me to critically engage with new ideas and form new opinions and outlooks.

However , I do believe the world is ALWAYS going to be a place filled with bigots and those who choose to remain ignorant and that we can never truly eradicate or educate ALL of them and therefore begrudgingly have to find a way to share the same air and web spaces with them and this is why I believe that “dragging” can reach sickening levels. More often than not your endgame is to educate and engage in debate over a conflicting issue but sometimes it spirals into throwing petty insults back and forth and your crew coming to your aid merely rubbing salt into the wound. It is not a healthy means of getting your point across , you get so caught up in the act of dragging that you lose your point and I for one cannot take you seriously after that. With the concept of dragging , we face problems such as mob mentality and so many people jump on a bandwagon that probably didn’t concern them in the first place and creates more drama and hostility.

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While I do not believe that my opinion is the only correct one in existence, I am generally terrified of voicing it for fear of it being contradictory to the collective accepted norms laid of by social justice warriors and in fact although I have been wanting to write about this for a long time , however  ,my fear of being shunned or ostracized overpowered me. Ironically a core value preached by SJW’s is acceptance and I hate to say it but this is greatly lacking. Once what was a safe space for me to voice my opinions is now hostile and yes I realise I should just unfollow , block and mute but for some reason I find this difficult to do. If your (that being anyone) opinion is not the generally accepted one , it gets lost in the void and is deemed irrelevant and you can often face mass scrutiny even if the view is not politically charged.

Two great factors that are largely touched on are race and religion and for most this can be seen as a touchy subject and rightfully so. Let’s start of by saying I am a Muslim Indian , thus making me religious and a POC and despite the fact that I believe in a higher power I have maintained healthy relationships with my friends who are Atheists.On the internet however there are many religious beliefs that many hold dear which can be considered archaic or pointless to SJWs and this can lead to religion bashing , misquoted scripture or quoting out of context and create unnecessary conflict and no this is not me excusing religious people for their bigoted statements either , there are always two sides to the coin. Then comes my race , POC have been grouped together mostly due to` melanin content and similar media treatment or in a historical context , note I said SIMILAR , NOT THE SAME. I for one believe I am not educated enough to make statements about race and POC in general , yet some seem to be more than learned on the subject and no wikipedia links do not count. There is a general lack of comradery and almost any statement pertaining to race is broiled in controversy and then we have the widely contentious cultural appropriation and how sometimes we are willing to excuse POC for appropriating other cultures yet vehemently go after non-POC. This is most certainly an internal problem and should be addressed as opposed to swept under the rug and proper research should be done before making blanket statements.

Next up we have a very emotional topic commonly known as “triggers” which is an undisputed occurrence , however what one person find triggering may not affect the other and vice versa . I have seen many people call out tweets or pictures for being triggering and go on escapades to prove their point or drag a person and yet they or their friends can post something equally as triggering to another and use the empty shell of an excuse of ” It’s not that deep”. I am not saying don’t quote lyrics or dark humour but just don’t be hypocritical about it. If you want people to respect your needs , you need to do the same in return.

To end this post off I would just like to say that I apologise if indeed this was triggering to anyone reading it and would like to reiterate my disclaimer. This serves to both commend and condemn SJW’s who can too be problematic , as we are all in fact human. Continue preaching the way you do and voicing your concerns for issues so passionately , and I will continue to admire you so long as you have a significant intellectual basis .I would just like to promote the idea of a holistic , tolerant and safely engaging society but this can be seen as my optimistic side.  My last word of advice is not to belittle or patronize others because you might just end up becoming your own enemy.