Foreign Policy compiled a list of 100 Twitter feeds “you need to follow to make sense of it all”. The who’s who list compilers had the audacity to exclude great tweeters such as Glenn Greenwald and Paul Krugman (on the international level) and others (including almost all women) on the local and international level. So, we decided to prepare our Top 5 best and worst tweeters (self-promotion?) The ten names below mostly focus on Egyptian politics:
Top 5 – The Worst
Mohamed ElBaradei: Nerd Alert
I like ElBaradei but his tweets tend to be aloof, distant and ridiculously theoretical. They give the impression that he lives in a parallel universe where people are more boring, detached from reality and smoke pipe while wearing silk robes de chamber. Doesn’t he know that well-behaved politicians rarely make history?
Mona ElTahawy: Rebel Without a Cause
We keep following and unfollowing the drama queen of Twitter (aka Mona). We find her tweets entertaining but shockingly simplistic, pretentious, pseudo-cultured and dogmatic. She loves to assemble buzzwords and not necessarily in a logical order. To a large extent Mona is a local product for foreign consumption with tweets (and articles) written with westerners in mind.
Shadi Hamid: The MB Groupie
If you want to see life through the eyes of a Muslim Brotherhood groupie then follow Shadi. He has the rare talent of assembling the best-recycled tweets that have absolutely no meaning. Examples: “The Arab Spring happened and we (should have) realized that the old way of doing things was unsustainable.” Hmmm okay! Or this gem “Well, I've always argued that spreading democracy is, in fact, in US long-term interests. But US policymakers may not agree w- me.” Deep.
Amr Waked: Funny When You’re Drunk
His tweets are like a bad movie, you think you’ve seen it before but you didn’t, they just don't add anything new. He is painfully unfunny yet he keeps trying to write supposedly "cute" tweets.
Alaa Al-Aswany: Trust Me I’m a Doctor
His tweets are consistently inconsistent yet he always manages to pretend that we, the ignorant, didn’t notice the three-dimensional nature of his masterful wisdom. Also, his tweets are lazy with a tendency to be shot from the hip without doing real research (e.g., mentioned that Egyptians abroad are only allowed to vote using their ID ignoring that it was permissible to use the new passport, or that the Central Auditing Agency should not report to the parliament).
Top 5 – The Best
Refreshingly smart with a subtle sense of humor. Her tweets are eclectic, in a good way, as they cover many developing countries. Her retweets are selective and almost always relevant. Surprisingly we have nothing negative or cranky to say about Dalia.
We have a love/meh relationship with Mahmoud Salem. We are impressed by his intelligence and his capacity to be ahead of the curve with insightful and passionate analysis. On the other hand, we tune him out when he starts taking himself too seriously (check out his profile picture with the cigarette) and makes the story about him instead of, you know the revolution (we posted before about his huff and puff rants).
Alaa Abd Elfatah:
His tweets are real, gritty and Egyptian. To us he is like a younger brother we care for and always check his tweets to make sure he is fine and not in some prison counting cockroaches.
To read mature, calm and well-written tweets check out Bassem’s tweets (and posts on his blog). We wish his tweets showed more passion and some sense of humor. He is like the Shukry Sarhan of Twitter!
We started following The Arabist since they started almost ten years ago. Issandr tweets are smart and objective. Together with Andrew Sullivan's The Dish, he inspired us to start our blog.