A prominent Fijian opposition MP is delighting new social media fans with his wide-eyed discovery of Twitter, even as the country is experiencing rising political tensions.
Pio Tikoduadua, who is the president of the National Federation Party, announced on Monday that while his Twitter account had been created some time ago, it had been managed by his staff until now.
“This is my first week of active use,” he wrote. “I have discovered what a ‘retweet’ and a ‘quote tweet’ are. I look forward to getting more involved with you! God bless Fiji. “
Since then, Tikoduadua has been documenting its parliamentary commitments, as well as its hesitant attempts to use the platform, cheering up its supporters, despite the political riots that have come to light in Fiji this week.
Tikoduadua and eight other opposition figures were arrested over the weekend and questioned by police over statements made on a controversial land bill that will be debated in parliament on Friday.
There are fears that tensions over the bill could lead to political protests and civil disobedience, leading to an increased police presence in major Fijian towns and cities.
In a video shared on Twitter late Wednesday, Tikoduadua said he would return to continue his interview with police. “I don’t know how long it will take,” he said, inviting people to “look at me” with questions about the research he would see when he returned.
Tikoduadua’s tweets, which include questions to followers about how notifications work on Twitter, as well as courteous responses to criticism, have provided a respite from the political tension as well as considerable amusement.
On Tuesday, before the Rugby 7 Olympics quarter-finals in which Fiji defeated Australia 19-0, he tweeted: “Bula friends, I hope your evening goes well as we all wait for the Fiji game. Today I learn that ‘FFS’ does not mean ” Fiji First Supporters’. God bless Fiji. “
Fiji First is the name of the country’s ruling party.
In another tweet, Tikoduadua responded to a follower whose Twitter username is KitKat who wrote: “May be new here sir, but tweeting like a real OG !!!!!”
“Bula KitKat”, was the formal reply of the parliamentarian in a quote tweet. “Please explain what ‘OG’ means. I assume it means ‘Old’? “
When another user, whose identifier is “Mama Dragon”, explained that it meant “Original Gangster” and it was a compliment, he replied: “Bula Mama, thank you for that important clarification. These terms are confusing! “
Confusion was a common theme in politicians’ tweets for the past three days, and Tikoduadua wrote: “I’m trying to answer everyone. The notification structure here is a bit difficult to understand. This has caused me a lot of confusion. “
Upon learning that the acronym “TL” stands for “timeline” and not “Tailevu”, a province of Fiji, he wrote “this has caused me a lot of anxiety”.
“Hello friends,” he tweeted late on Monday. “Sorry if I keep you awake. I was just asked to incorporate hashtags into my posts. I just know. ‘#FijiNews‘because I saw that the NFP youth account was using it. Is there more I can use? I have to ask permission? God bless Fiji. “
Tikoduadua’s honesty about his unfamiliarity with the platform and the authenticity of his posts have earned him the love of his followers, who have offered him price and encouragement, as well as advice.
Your courteous and serious commitment to your responses is surprising, given Twitter’s reputation for being a hothouse of anonymous abuse and sarcasm.
After posting a photo of the prime minister and attorney general, a follower tweeted him to ask if he needed to include the photo given the country’s current political divisions, driven by land law and the government’s handling of a Covid outbreak. which is currently devastating the Pacific nation.
“Bula,” Tikoduadua replied. “I’ll keep that in mind when looking for photos next time. Thank you for your kind suggestions, I appreciate it. “And he said goodbye, as he has done in all tweets:” God bless Fiji. “