Screen-capture phobia sets in

Screen-capture phobia sets in

When two large sinkholes appeared in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, I received several satirical memes via Whatsapp. There was one meme that was just so funny. I was so tempted to tweet the meme but I've learnt that for some memes, what happens on Whatsapp, stays on Whatsapp. I've learnt this Twitter boo-boo lesson several times.

I once tweeted a controversial meme on former Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said wearing a tudung and holding cash. @Khairykj (Khairy Jamaluddin, the Youth and Sports Minister) found it offensive. He tweeted to me: "I appreciate satire but I think that one is extremely libellous."

The other meme was on Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, who was contesting for the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election. I received it via Whats­app, thought it was funny and instantly - without malice - shared it on Twitter.

Big mistake. Some pro-Barisan Nasional supporters liked it. Many retweeted it. But not the pro-Opposition Twitterers and feminists. They found the meme offensive.

Finally, after a few whackings, I've learnt that certain things - however funny I think they are - can't be shared on Twitter. If I shared some of my thoughts, memes or controversial jokes, I could be jailed.

That's why I've reduced posting my biting tweets, as there are creatures out there that will screen-capture my tweets and use them against me. I now think twice before tweeting.

My screen-capture fear is not unfounded. Two Twitterers whom I follow are in trouble. One has claimed trial to two counts of insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with two posts on Twitter. The other is under probe by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission for insulting the royalty.

Even though the two Twitterers had deleted their "offensive" tweets, nothing posted on Twitter can be permanently deleted. There's bound to be someone screen-capturing your tweets.

I've come to the conclusion that Twitter is only for the brave, the naive and the ordinary.

I'm still on Twitter. In fact, I'm on it 24/7 except when I'm sleeping. But I'm following the trend where information is shared via messaging apps such as Whatsapp.

"Gone are the days when over-sharing with hundreds of friends was the most popular way to spend time online. As people become more concerned about privacy - and as messaging start-ups continue to pop up with unique features designed for chatting - more people are choosing to share information privately," wrote ReadWrite, a popular weblog that provides Web technology.

Facebook's US$19bil (RM60.8bil) acquisition of WhatsApp is a testament of the people's switch from social networks to messaging apps.

The fun stuff - which used to be on Twitter - is now on Whatsapp.

For example, I shared that funny sinkhole meme on several Whatsapp groups I belong to. The reason is that I know almost everybody on these groups and I know they will not be too judgmental about it.

When I shared the Dyana meme that some found offensive, some on Twitter accused me of being this or that even though they personally don't know me. They judged me based on that single meme.

That's why I sometimes find being on Twitter tiresome. You have to deal with ultra-sensitive or uber-political characters.

I share most of the good stuff - political gossip, terrorism conspiracy, personal opinion and satirical memes - on Whatsapp.

But even on Whatsapp, I choose my audience.

There's certain stuff I would share with certain groups but not with other groups.

However, I've learnt to take information or photographs from Whatsapp (or even Facebook and Twitter) with a spoonful of salt.

For example, on Thursday, a journalist from Sibu Whatsapped me a photo of an AirAsia plane crash. I asked him where the incident happened and he said Kota Kinabalu.

I forwarded the photograph to my Sabah Star Whatsapp group and one of my colleagues replied that according to the budget airline's communication team, the crash occurred in Kuching back in 2011.

With Whatsapp, I'm always in touch with my family in Kota Kinabalu even though I live in Subang Jaya. Here's an example on how instant our communication is on the family Whatsapp group.

My sister Josie shared two photographs of smoke billowing from Pulau Gaya in Kota Kinabalu on Thursday.

Josie: Pulau Gaya terbakar (on fire).

Me: Old pix or new?

Josie: Sekarang bah (New).

Me: Thanks.

Josie: Banyak bunyi meletup (Many explosions can be heard).

I received more photographs of Pulau Gaya from my other Whatsapp group and I immediately shared them. Almost every family - perhaps with the exception of the Amy Search family - has a Whatsapp group. Last month, actress Nabila Huda had a tiff with her rocker father Amy Search.

It started when the rocker scolded his daughter via Instagram for posting a suggestive photo with a man on the online mobile photo- and video-sharing social networking service.

Nabila (@abilsuhaimi) hit back via Twitter. "Pa, Pls explain and fix the things that you've created. I'm begging you pls. Fix it. You've ruined my life once again. @AkuAmySearch," she tweeted.

The family tiff played out in public on social media. And @AnisLokome (Wan Anis Wan Lokman) tweeted: "Nabila Huda dengan Amy Search ni tak ada Whatsapp group family ke? Pelisss la guna otak artis Malaysia. (Nabila Huda and Amy Search do not have a Whatsapp family group? Malaysian artistes, please use your brains)."

Perhaps the Amy Search family, like some on Twitter, needs an audience when they fight.

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