How I use Twitter: Q&A with Gareth Cliff

According to a recent report, 5fm radio DJ Gareth Cliff is one of the most-talked about personalities in the South African Twittersphere. With the “shock-jock” also ranking among the top three Twitter users with the most followers in the country, put a few questions to the often-controversial Cliff to get his take on Twitter, Helen Keller and getting in trouble.

Memeburn: You have been identified as one of the biggest Tweeters in South Africa. What does that mean to you?

Gareth Cliff: I think it is great that so many people want to hear my thoughts and jokes, see my pictures, and identify with my experiences.

MB: How has tweeting enhanced your DJ work?

GC: The two are complementary. I get instant feedback from my listeners/followers, and my Twitter followers get to hear what they usually just read, and more…

MB: Does tweeting distract you from your work?

GC: It doesn’t really. I think people can listen to the radio and use Twitter — the two aren’t mutually exclusive. I also think you become a full-time broadcaster on Twitter, which means you take the radio show wherever you go — it is no longer something that happens only in the SABC building.

MB: Who are your favourite people to follow on Twitter?

GC: I only follow a few people/creatures. Helen Keller and Morris the Tokoloshe are two of my favourites.

MB: Has Twitter helped grow your radio audience? Do you think it will?

GC: No, I think both have gained. But not because they are the same. Either one appeals to people in different ways.

MB: Has a tweet of yours ever put you in a difficult or compromising position?

GC: Well, yes. Saying that you are pleased that the Minister of Health is gone is something that can cause a little consternation.

MB: If Twitter had to disappear tomorrow, would it have a major impact on your life?

GC: No, but I think we’d invent something quickly enough to take its place.

MB: Which celebrities do you follow on Twitter?

GC: None. I don’t like celebrities, unless you consider John Cleese, Christopher Hitchens, Stephen Fry or Bill Maher as celebrities…

MB: What would make you unfollow someone?

GC: Too many tweets in a day. Self-indulgent crap about what they’re eating or that they’re going to gym. And spelling mistakes.

MB: Facebook or Twitter. Which do you prefer?

GC: I prefer Twitter. Twitter is short and sharp and doesn’t involve complicated social matters.

MB: Would you go on a blind date with someone from Twitter?

GC: No.

MB: Who is the most fascinating person you would like to see on Twitter?

GC: Thabo Mbeki.

MB: Would you follow and engage with the ANC Youth League’s Julius Malema?

GC: Yes.

MB: What’s your favourite tweet?

GC: As a reply to a man who had just tweeted that he met Gordon Brown: “@SanvirM Sanvir, why didn’t you “Brown-eye” with your one eye, the one eyed Brown?” or this one, which my manager didn’t get: “My Turban brings all the Muslims to the yard and they’re like العنصرية ش”.

MB: What’s your worst tweet?

GC: “Do you think anyone will choose “Show Dem”, “Dubul’ iBhunu”, or “Phone Calls” for their Idols audition?”

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