Naina Redhu, India’s First Twitter User, Says, ‘Why Should I Pay Now?’

Naina Redhu, India’s First Twitter User, Says, ‘Why Should I Pay Now?’

India’s first Twitter user Naina Redhu has recalled how the social media platform was a close-knit community where one could talk openly. Redhu joined Twitter when it was called TWTR. She has shared her thoughts with news agency ANI about the platform’s evolution and recent changes.

With Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquiring Twitter, there is a lot happening in the company.  

Redhu, who currently works in a hotel in Jaisalmer and has done about 1,75,000 tweets to date, shared her experiences saying that she got an email in 2006 from TWTTR (code name of the Twitter project) to join a new platform. “I remember, I had received an invitation through e-mail from Twitter and at the time it was named TWTTR, now the spelling has changed. I joined it thinking let’s sign up and explore, it was just a coincidence and I had no idea that it will become such a big platform in future,” said Redhu.

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“At that time there was no one from India and whatever chats I had seen most of them were from Twitter employees or their friends. They used to message each other. Back then I was working in Mumbai and I used to feel what can I even talk to them about. This was a reason why initially I did not use Twitter for about one and a half years because I thought it was just another platform,” she spoke about her experience of being the only Indian on Twitter.

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Her Twitter bio introduces her as a “Photographer, Artist & Experience Collector,” nowhere mentions her being the first Indian Twitter user.

She said, “Since this is not an accomplishment and was just a coincidence, I don’t think this is something worth mentioning in my bio because I have not worked hard for it. I had gotten to know about it (being the first Indian Twitter user) when someone from the USA had written an article about the first 140 Twitter users. My name was on that list.”

Redhu, an active Twitter user, also has a blue tick in her profile. Nowadays, the blue tick which has been a major topic of discussion.

On blue tick fee, Redhu said, “Currently, there is no clarity regarding what the money is being charged for. Whether the meaning of the blue tick will remain the same as it is now or will it change? Only once there is some clarity regarding this then only will I be able to make a decision. It’s a private firm and the reason they started giving the blue tick to users was to verify that it’s the real account of a public figure. And if I have not paid for this in the past 16 years then why should I now,” she said.

Redhu also shared her thoughts on what effect will Twitter’s blue tick decision will have in India. “I don’t feel there will be any effect because having a blue tick in general is not a necessity. Further, people who need it and can afford will simply buy it and the general public will also not be affected. But I do feel people who work independently like in journalism and cannot afford, might be affected.”

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She also talked about what she feels regarding the freedom of expression through Twitter, “I feel the freedom of expression in a country is not related to Twitter. Though it has become a platform now where we see news and check what is happening around the world but there is also a lot of fake news around. I think relying on Twitter is not the right way, we should do our own research. The problem is that since we all are busy and can’t do the research across platforms hence we do depend on Twitter.”

It has almost been two decades since Redhu first joined Twitter and in that time period along with the world, the platform too has gone through a myriad of changes even before its recent takeover.

“A lot has changed. Earlier, it was a close-knit community and you could talk to people openly. We used to talk about our daily lives and what has been new. It was not about who is reading our tweets. Now, I feel people think a lot before posting on Twitter and my usage of the platform has reduced significantly. Whenever I use it, it’s for work,” she said.

In her 16-year-long Twitter journey, she has garnered around 22,000 followers which does not seem a lot though among them are celebrities. However, for her it’s all about quality over quantity.

Under Musk, Twitter has told advertisers that its daily user growth has hit an “all-time high”, as several advertisers leave the platform amid internal chaos.

According to a company document obtained by The Verge, Twitter’s monetisable daily user (mDAU) growth has accelerated to more than 20 per cent after Musk takeover. “Twitter’s largest market, the US, is growing even more quickly,” according to the document. As per the report, Twitter has added more than 15 million mDAUs, “crossing the quarter billion mark”.

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The company last reported 237.8 million mDAUs and a 16.6 per cent annual growth for its second quarter.

With ANI inputs