Twitter (X) has become problematic with so many trolls there: Historian Rana Safvi

Twitter (X) has become problematic with so many trolls there: Historian Rana Safvi


In conversation with Rana Safvi, a noted historian, writer and content creator, delved into the dynamics of social media, exploring the role Instagram and Twitter (now X) have played in her being able to reach out to people interested in art, culture, and the history of India.

With over 38 thousand followers on Instagram & over 126 thousand on Twitter, Safvi is making a mark for herself and is gaining traction with each passing month.

Safvi joined Twitter in 2009, mostly because she wanted to reconnect with India after having lived in the Middle East for years.

“I was living in the Middle East, I used to feel very lonely there because my husband was traveling, my children were in India. I did not have too many friends there. For me, Twitter became a connection to my homeland,” she said.

Safvi, a firm believer in the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, began using social media to share her experiences and the knowledge that she has gained over the years. She is also the founder and moderator of the hashtag #Shair on Twitter, a forum that has revived popular interest in Urdu poetry.

“With like-minded people, I started Shair gradually from there, after Shair was established, I moved back to what was my primary interest, that was history, now I mostly post on history.”

The historian also spoke about how Instagram gave her the freedom to write more after it and both platforms encouraged her to share things and to learn from others.

She said, “Instagram had a word limit of I think 800 words, that for me was a very good format to be able to write freely.”

These online spaces have transformed into platforms where Safvi shares her knowledge, explores diverse perspectives, and engages with individuals who possess a similar interest in history, culture, customs, and literature. For her, it’s not just a means of expression but also an avenue for continuous learning.

Speaking about the kind of content that generates most traction, Safvi shared that she has limited her interaction on social media with time. She feels Instagram is still a cleaner platform as opposed to Twitter. “It (X) has become a little problematic with so many trolls there,” she said.

The historian has also been a target of trolling, she explained how it is all the more upsetting for the people of her generation.

“We are not used to this kind of ‘badtamizi,’ rudeness from youngsters…I treat all my interactions as very personal, for me it is like a conversation, but for the troll he is just doing it for that 2 Rupee, whatever he is getting paid for it. He does not have any problem in dishing out all kinds of abuses. So, that is very upsetting.”

“That faceless person does not know who I am, maybe when I meet him or her in person, they may be very different. So, that has become a big problem on social media. Because of which so many people have restricted their work, tweets,” she said.

Safvi said that while earlier she would respond to anyone who wrote to her. Now, she only responds to people she knows on social media.

Urging X to address the problem which is rampant, she said, “The kind of interactions that used to take place, we used to joke with each other, all that has finished now, everybody is careful about saying anything out there.” She also did not shy away from highlighting how Instagram audience is much better than Twitter.

However, all the trolling and hate has not stopped from doing whatever she feels like. She is not calculative and loves her work and feels that is what makes her relatable. “Because I write with my heart I connect to people, if I was doing something with the thought ‘this is what will sell,’ I don’t think I would be reaching out to people organically. My inherent passion for what I do is what connects with people.”

She has been dabbling in multiple fields, has a dedicated blog, takes part in heritage walks while managing other aspects of her life. She does have an agency that handles her work, but that does not stop her from writing what she wants and posting whatever she likes.

She is also now planning to become more active on her YouTube channel. However, her primary love remains writing. She spends her mornings writing and manages to take time out to put a tweet or two, or an Instagram post.

Safvi is also the author of Where Stones Speak – The Delhi Trilogy : 1. Historical Trails in Mehrauli, the First City of Delhi. She has also collaborated with Sam Dalrymple dedicated to exploring the temples of Shahjahanabad,
The project is an Instagram photo series that seeks to highlight the heritage of Shahjahanabad in Old Delhi.

Readers who too are a history buff like Safvi, can follow her writing on her blog and those fond of Urdu shayri can follow @urdualfaz and @shairoftheday on X.

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3 months ago

Excellent revelation