Invisible Obama and Phantom Tweeters

The just concluded 2012 Republican National Convention was memorable because Clint Eastwood gave a kooky speech while talking to an empty chair. Apparently, he was castigating an invisible potty mouthed Barack Obama who supposedly sat in the chair. Even before poor Mitt Romney took the stage to give his acceptance speech, the twittersphere was a buzz with snarky and often humorous tweets on the surreal “performance” of the Oscar winning, husky-voiced, octogenarian actor-director.

One of them is @InvisibleObama. He (or she, or they) started a series of funny tweets (often at the expense of Mitt Romney and the GOP) with gems like:-

When Mitt Romney says “Mr. Chairman”, do you think he’s referring to me?

I’m behind Mitt! No seriously. I’m right behind him.

Pretty soon, everyone joined in and even President Obama chimed in with this:-

This seat's taken.
“This seat’s taken.” tweeted Obama

Memes started popping up:-

Meanwhile, our own Communications and Information Minister (who has the dubious honor of a permanent hashtag of #yorais attached to every tweet regarding him) encouraged tweeting Malaysians to tweet between 8.15pm and 9.15pm on the 31st of August. The topic is should be about freedom, independence and…how grateful Malaysians feel towards “promises fulfilled” (which is the theme of this year’s independence day).

While Rais Yatim claimed that the massive simul-tweet campaign is a success, others didn’t think so when they analyzed the tweets.

Politweet reported a spontaneous need for 111 Malaysians to tweet about their bowl of Curry Mee in Queensbays Mall at around the same time in almost the same language on their Facebook page.

It is interesting to note the prominence of social media in our modern political arena. While one can control the message, one can’t control the medium (without being discovered). In parting, there is only one way to compare what happened in the US with what happened in Malaysia: While Americans are tweeting about an invisible president, invisible Malaysians are tweeting about Merdeka!

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