If you were watching Twitter’s trends last night, you may have been wondering: What’s Marsha and Rana?
It’s more a “who” than a “what.”
Marsha and Rana, two Indonesian students found themselves at the center of the Twitter spotlight, not for academic accomplishment but for ongoing taunts and insults.
Rana, a junior high school student in Jakarta, started insulting BlackBerry users by calling them tacky. But Marsha decided to take on a bigger fight: She smeared public schools as sub-standard.
It wasn’t long before public school students flooded their Twitter streams attacking Marsha, retweeting one insult after another. Some users also created phony accounts in her name in a bid to fuel the rage. Marsha made it top of Retweet Rank in no time (her account @marshaaaw has since gone dark).
Wednesday’s surprising incident on Twitter is a reflection of significant trends in Indonesia.
First, according to a report by Sysomos in January, Indonesia is Asia’s biggest Twitter market. Interestingly, Indonesia didn’t even make it to Sysomos’ league table in June 2009.
Second, the growth of mobile phones has skyrocketed among students. And it’s not just the $50 Nokias — we’re talking BlackBerry smartphones, which are ubiquitous among students, homemakers and businessmen. The BlackBerry is practically a “community” phone that ties people and conversations together.
Twitter apps are also everywhere. They are light, fast and they work on practically every platform on phones. Tweets are spreading like wildfire.
Welcome to the new SMS — faster, easier and full of rage.
(Photo/Creative Commons: basibanget on Flickr)