Hatching Twitter

Sometimes, I read books. Boring books. Books that suck the life out of me. Books that claim to be New York Times bestsellers. Books that everyone else has read. Most times, I let them sit on my headboard, waiting for a second chance. Other times I let them sit on my shelf until the day I feel they might be interesting again because my understanding of them has changed with experience. Often times, I just give them out because it’s not good to hoard stuff that someone else might enjoy. I gave away The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. I couldn’t stand it. Turns out my BFF’s mum loved it. I also gave away two John Grisham books: Sycamore Row and Gray Mountain. Honestly John bored me to death with these two. Bear in mind I’m a Grisham girl. Why would he bore me then, you ask? I have a theory.

I fell in love with epubs and Kindle editions. Slowly. And then all at once. (I really need to stop using this John Green line. Btw, John Green is one of the richest authors alive as we speak. Like duh.) Everything you can do with a physical book, you can do with an epub, only that you can do more with an epub. For starters, you can read in the dark. No more walking over from your warm bed to flip a switch. No? You have a bed switch? Oh really? Isn’t it just weird to have the lights on all night when you can’t put that book down. There’s something eerily delightful about reading in the dark as you plot out the story in the dark canvas. Just you and book. Try it out sometime, you’ll see. Also, you don’t need a bookmark with these books and struggling to remember where you left off, because, you know, the app stops exactly where you left off.

Also, if you are a highlights addict with all sorts of highlighter pens, forget about them, epubs and Kindle editions got you covered. You also get to see popular highlights across the global Kindle community, if that floats your boat. It doesn’t mine, so I turn those off. I don’t want my opinion of phrases being influenced by strangers strewn across the universe. Did I mention that you can get digital copies way before Kenyan bookshops lay their hands on actual traditional books? I remember what happened last year, one moment you are struggling to find good books, then immediately you read Gone Girl and The Fault in Our Stars on epub, they suddenly pop up at Text Book Centre. In short, the only time you’ll find a traditional book of that kind is only when it becomes popular and people start asking for it. I get overly tired of popular books. And songs. And movies. Hyped works of creativity. They are not all that. If they were, I’d have discovered them before they were popular. 😛

Ebooks vs traditional books

Well…

Anyhuuuuu, enough about my love for epubs and theories. Let’s get to the reason I started writing this post. I read a book over the weekend. A book that made me forget about An Ember in the Ashes which I’m still hoping will get to a juicy part soon. The book is titled Hatching Twitter. One day I’m seated at my desk, busy at work doing what I can to save the world. Lol. Then I remember this thing I read on my Flipboard in the morning about a company called Zirtual, and how it closed up overnight without warning. As expected, that is bound to intrigue me, seeing as I love all stories and experiences startup. I read through the whole article and let my thoughts wander to what might have led that to happen. I decide to discuss this with my Hangouts partner in crime.

Me: Umesoma juu ya ile company ilifungwa overnight?
Me: Wach a nikumbuke jina na Google
Me: Zirtual: http://www.businessinsider.com/zirtual-suddenly-laid-off-400-employees-via-email-2015-8
B: WTH!!!!
Me: Cheki hiyo link below that after kusoma hiyo story (some threads of this convo have been removed for various reasons. 😀 )

I do it and discover that there’s a link related to the story now that on Business Insider itself and not Flipboard. I quickly click through. Same old people who almost gave up on their companies before they struck gold. Interesting all the same. Until I get to Ev Williams. And I’m like whoa. From starting Blogger (I used to prefer my Blogger blog to my WordPress.com one when I started blogging) to Twitter (we all know I prefer Twitter to Facebook) and then Medium (I love Medium, I just don’t write on it. Story for another day.)

I wait for B to read through then I ask him to guess who intrigued me most. The Blogger guy of course. Damn. He knows me too well. Of course Ev intrigued me. From Blogger to Twitter to Medium. Who does that? I have to find out. So I Google him. And just like that we are asking each other who were the actual founders of Twitter, now that we all assume it’s Jack Dorsey. I am now determined to find out. I click through to Wikipedia. Not helping. That’s when I land on the Amazon page with the book. I stare at it. I click Look Inside! Hmmm… I have to go back to work. Leave tab open. Will come back to it later. I tell B I’ll get that book and he’s like ati Amazon is paying me of late. Whatever man. Anyway, in the end, I come back to that tab two days later. I know you do that too. Millennials. Smh. Too much going on on our browsers. I buy the book and there’s no stopping me now.

One week in the summer of 1999, while she was away on vacation, Ev released the diary Web site to the world. He called it Blogger, a word that had not existed until then. He believed it would allow people without any computer-programming knowledge to create a Web log, or blog.

 

Outside the small enclave of the Valley, most people didn’t believe in the promise of this weird blogging thing . Some called it “stupid” and “infantile.” Others asked why anyone would care to share anything about themselves so publicly. Quotes from Hatching Twitter

From the word go, I’m captured by the writing, not to mention the stories. In case you didn’t know, both me and the book are so clearly biased toward Ev. First of all, dude started Blogger in his apartment. And since I don’t want to spoil the book for you, I’ll be fast. Google bought Blogger from Ev, despite the fact that he thought it was going nowhere. Then he hooked up with this guy Noah Glass on a podcast project that was truly going nowhere. That’s when he stumbled upon Jack Dorsey. The rest they say is history. Only in this case it isn’t. Dude. The wrangles that birthed Twitter. You have no idea. Even as we speak, Jack is interim CEO, a position he acquired just last month after he conspired to kick Ev out many years ago.

The Twitter you see today is a complete contrast from what we had a few years back. When I say we, I mean those that joined around 2009-2010. Even we didn’t see nothing of the raw version. It took ages to take off from 2006. It was mostly a techie thing and I think that’s the same reasoning that carried over to Kenya, where most people thought it was difficult. Right until Twitter Z emerged and eggs joined just to tweet corporates. Most of the features were not really the founders’ ideas. They were brought in by users themselves. Remember the fail whale? There’s a whole story behind it. Remember when Tweetdeck was a third party app and there were many more that disappeared? Another story. You think the Mark Zuckerberg story is interesting? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Friends turn on friends. A crush lasts for years only for a co-founder to take her away from him. Cussing all the way, typical of Americans (not to be stereotypical or anything). Not to mention Mark wanted to buy the company twice.

The first use of the @ symbol was by a young Apple designer , Robert Andersen, who on November 2, 2006, replied to his brother by placing an @ before his name as they talked.

You know what, if a book made me write, you can bet it’s a good book. I’m itching for the next good book, as I continue doing An Ember in the Ashes. It has that Hunger Games vibe that I don’t necessarily like. What are you reading?

Written by Shiku Ngigi

Mum and dad’s daughter. Shouting big sister. Learning to listen. Jesus freak. Recovering tomboy. Mouse potato. Bass addict. Waking up the writer in her.

    21 Comments

  1. Caroline Nyambura August 25, 2015 at 4:03 am Reply

    I also couldn’t stand The Monk who sold his Ferrari. I don’t read self help generally. I get that from general works of fiction which elicit a certain emotion in me more than self help books. While I don’t mind kindle, there’s something very nice about a hard copy. Btw there’s a bookstore at Yaya second floor that’s worth checking out. Went in to get one book, left with 3!lol. The app I’m forever grateful for is Pocket. I remember reading about Snowden and telling my friends about it but they just didn’t get it! I’m more than intrigued about this book you’ve described and best believe I’ll look for it. I’m no techie but a good story is a good story period! Love and light

    • Shiku Ngigi August 25, 2015 at 7:48 am Reply

      Walked into Bookstop, the one you refer to at Yaya Centre and walked out and went to Junction for the TBC. I didn’t like it at all, even though that’s the only reason I went to Yaya in the first place.

      • hannahakinyi August 25, 2015 at 9:28 am Reply

        Wait!… How did you walk out of the bookshop in Yaya without buying anything?

        • Shiku Ngigi August 25, 2015 at 9:37 am Reply

          I guess it had something to do with my feeling that they were overly expensive for no real reason plus the fact that I am clearly biased toward e-books myself. My BFF couldn’t find anything either.

          • Miriam August 31, 2015 at 11:15 pm

            Bookstop have an amazing used books section, did you check that out? Also the best extensive collection of African writers in my opinion, things that you don’t get on Kindle like Muthoni Likimani and Okot p’Bitek. Yes, don’t bother buying their new books though lol..

            As for ebooks, I like them, very portable too, but nothing bothers me like running out of battery when the story gets so good. Also, sometimes there’s the problem of screen glare, so nothing really beats a good old book..esp if you want to build a cool library collection. I’m currently reading An Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak. Fiction based in the Middle-east/historical empires of Asia is one of my favorite genres, if you’re interested, you should pick up a book too. Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani is a good place to start, and it’s on Kindle too.

          • Shiku Ngigi September 1, 2015 at 7:10 am

            Used books… Hmmm… Didn’t know that. Should check that out. I will also check out your recommendation. Thanks, Miriam!

  2. Kizzy B August 25, 2015 at 8:05 am Reply

    the maze runner … quite an interesting book nice post 🙂 there is a book am looking for , but it’s still not in the market 🙁

    • Shiku Ngigi August 25, 2015 at 8:07 am Reply

      I started Maze Runner btw. I was reading it on my computer then somehow put it aside. Will finish it one of these days. Which book is that? I bet you can find it on Amazon. Most definitely.

      • Kizzy B August 25, 2015 at 4:03 pm Reply

        unspoken feelings of a gentle man .. i want a hard copy ….. it hasn’t touched the African soil

        • Shiku Ngigi August 25, 2015 at 4:06 pm Reply

          *Runs to Amazon* Lemme see what this book is that you want so bad.

          • Kizzy B September 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

            :p

  3. Lord AweSAMMM (@samuelndichu) August 25, 2015 at 8:38 am Reply

    I was reading this on the bus to work and couldn’t resist a few chuckles. Its amazing how we think our circumstances in life are very unique to us; pure narcissism. I had an epub/eBook experiment last year and experienced what you did but I’m not completely sold. At the moment I am trying out audio books and its not fun at all. I guess I am set in my hard copy ways. Plus my “dealers” in the streets of Nairobi have got bills to pay too 😛

    Currently rereading Return of the King by Tolkien, Hyperion by Friedrich Hölderlin and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins all at once. I felt we needed to be reacquainted. Just depends on how I feel when I get home in the evening.

    • Shiku Ngigi August 25, 2015 at 8:56 am Reply

      Audio books are just lost. But I read a piece the other day speaking of how they help you save time. I never find anything I like on the streets of Nairobi. Trust me, I’ve tried. Only good ones I found a while back were Grisham’s.

      • Sam (@samuelndichu) September 23, 2015 at 10:16 am Reply

        Try steering away from the Bestseller vendors. Or check out their collection of books that no one wants. You wont believe how many hard to find penguin classics I have purchased for 50 bob.

        The reason audio books don’t work for me, I think, is because whenever I plug in my earphones my mind starts wandering thinking its music. The only place I found audio books working is a place with minimal external stimuli like at home when there’s no electricity. Reading on the other hand the mind automatically shuts off all other senses that you can read a book at Nyayo stadium on Mashemeji Derby day.

    • hannahakinyi August 25, 2015 at 9:27 am Reply

      I think audio books require some special kind of patience because my mind wanders. 🙂

      • Shiku Ngigi August 25, 2015 at 9:36 am Reply

        The two times I tried, I dozed off. 😀

    • Alex Ndegwa May 25, 2016 at 2:24 pm Reply

      Audiobooks have done me well especially when i am on the move and i am not listening to BBC World Service.For those interested on an audiobooks alternative try audible,its an amazon company,they have an android and iOS app for those on the go,that works just like amazon kindle including a store.The readers voices are nicely synced with the book n all.check them out here

      http://www.audible.com

  4. Abu August 25, 2015 at 10:56 am Reply

    Currently reading Shantaram. The writer understands what it means to tell a story. I cannot bring myself to like e-Books. I got The Old Man and the Sea on my tablet. It is still stuck on the 2nd paragraph, two months later. I like all things startup too, and that Zirtual story, men! After raising $5.5, I don’t know. Above all I like your writing.

    • Shiku Ngigi August 25, 2015 at 11:23 am Reply

      Hmmm… Shantaram. Just Googled it. Funny enough, I started reading The Old Man and the See in a physical copy but then the book was available to me for a few minutes but I would have totally finished it. Thank you Abu. 🙂

  5. Jackson Ndung'u - Xpressive September 3, 2015 at 9:58 am Reply

    Great post.

  6. Alex Ndegwa May 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm Reply

    Welcome to the Kindle world my dear,i am currently reading “its our turn to eat” by Michela Wong,The book provides a thrilling description of tribalism and corruption in Kenya with a nice historical context to it.As you know the book is officially banned in Kenya by the Government but you can get the kindle edition for $12 which is roughly Ksh1,300 charged to your debit card lol…The book opens ones eyes to the reality of kenyan politics and kenyan life in general.Here is the link,check it out

    http://www.amazon.com/Its-Our-Turn-Eat-Whistle-Blower/dp/0061346594

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