“This Table You Are Shaking” Origin, Usage & Influencer Chat

If you have been on Twitter for a week or two, one thing you must have noticed is the thirst to trend. Everyone wants to be relevant and in a global, viral, unforgettable way. Many brands and businesses even go as far as paying for people to make their ideas trend. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

So when an innocuous phrase seems to capture the attention of the entire TwitterNg overnight, without any big name endorsement, grand budget or media team, people are curious.

‘Shaking the table’ is no great poetic marvel. It is a simple idiom that describes disruption, interference, meddling with the norm. It is odd that its documentation in the Urban Dictionary is as early as October 2017, but that would not be enough to make it viral.

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For the phrase to capture the collective attention of thousands (millions) of people it needed a unique use, some synergy, an ability to deliver more than mere expression; it found this in the quote tweet.

Specifically the quote tweet used to comment on a subtweet.

Subtweets are as old as Twitter. They provide a subtle way of voicing ideas that are potentially embarrassing or controversial with little of the backlash. Without mentioning names or triggering anyone’s mentions one can effectively deliver barbs, abuse, shade or any combination of the three.

But most subtweets lack context and are not as effective as they could be.

Enter the quote tweet where added context can be provided.

But how to provide this context in a witty/satirical way? Cue ‘This table you are shaking” and in an instant the subtweet is united with it’s target in a witty/silly/more memorable manner.

The first use of the phrase, as a quoted tweet to give more context is credited to @MallamSawyerr. The origin tweet is not entirely ‘safe for work’ but it captured the imagination of a small set of users, one of them was @Olumuyiwa__ .

Olumuyiwa started using the phrase to add some context of his own. The first time, he used it in quotation marks as attribution to an unknown source. When the phrases popped up on @Olumuyiwa__ feed it was barely noticed. The phrase remained largely unnoticed the next time Olumuyiwa used it but he stayed with the phrase until it broke through.

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With that the phrase took wing and within days, there was an epidemic on the TL. It wasn’t only food on the table. There were babes, guys, activists-turned-government-spokesmen, On Air Personalities, BellaNaija, even the users of the phrase it self.

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In a chat with @Olumuyiwa__ he was quick to say he wasn’t the inventor of the phrase but someone who saw its potential and stayed with it till it caught on. Our chat went:

Me: It looks like you invented a trend..

Olumuyiwa: I didn’t invent it. I saw it somewhere and it stuck, ‘this table you are shaking has food on it’ it seemed really apt at the time.

Me: But you stayed with it till it caught on…

Olumuyiwa: Yes, I did, using it persistently till it racked up 200RTs, that I can take credit for πŸ˜‚

Me: Absolutely. So what next? What do you think will happen after this?

Olumuyiwa: Nothing else. Just one of the many definitive but passing fads of social media.

Me: I quite agree.

Already, many people are fed up with the phrase. But I think it still has some more miles to go before joining the history books especially as some people are just falling in love with it.

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What better way to mock the next losers of a Champions League match, National election or Tweetfight than to remind them, they are pawns on a shaking table, in the next avalanche of subtweets?

***
Chats have been modified for clarity

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The Making of an Overlord

You will begin by opening an account. There will be no ‘conventionally beautiful’ pictures in your gallery so you will use one of Tiger Woods. When the scandal breaks you will change this quickly to Chiwetel Ejiofor, who wan die?

You will try to think of usernames but everything you come up with will already be taken. You will look longingly at the three letter handles and snobbishly at those filled with numbers and symbols. Finally you ll settle on something with a few extra letters thrown in. Tundrrr isn’t your first pick but you can live with it.

Your handle will attract a modest following, but that is over stating things. You have ninety followers butΒ you know that half are bots. You ll agree to all the follow suggestions, attaching yourself to the feeds of several celebrities. They won’t follow you back. Soon you ll have a sense of worthlessness.

You will consider closing the account. You will even close it briefly before resurrecting it just in time, nothing will change.

One day in a fit of existential boredom you will wander into your account settings and begin fiddling with possible name changes. No one knows your name or your face, you can be anyone.

You decide to be pretty young girl, unemployed and naive. You call yourself Tola and change your username to sexxxxygirl and find a black little known pornstar’s picture and affix it. Your header changes from a rural football field to a lush black and velvet boudir.

You unfollow all the celebrities and follow similar handles instead: bustyBerve, greedypunta, xxxxxfroreal, hotcreamyfun.

The first thing that stuns you is the decorum. In this dark end of the street, everyone is polite. Good morning tweets are replied with kisses. Everyone is boo, sweetie and baby. All bodies and indeed all booties matter and every one gets likes and share.

You are still trying to fathom this when a miracle happens.

You get followed. Not by bots and company reps but by real people all over the world. They compliment your hair, your nails, your smile. They want to meet you, chat with you, sit out and have drinks with you.

Over night they are 2000 strong and counting.

You don’t know what to do. You watch and wait. The numbers keep climbing, 3000, 4000, 7000! Your notifications are paragraphs filled with new handles, many you ll never know or acknowledge.

You decide to play along and see how far it can go: you make some flirting comments, you like some racy posts, you RT some things you shouldn’t have and the numbers just keep swelling.

No one is asking for follow backs, no one is asking you to turn on notifications. No one is asking you to follow and share to be be followed back. It looks too good to be true, but it is. You are a god by now, but you aren’t sure what to do about it.

The you ll meet Trix, or rather trixlickalot and she ll light up your rather dead DMs. She ll tell you all about herself while you equivocate between half truth and full disclosure. You are scared she ll run if she knows you are a guy, but you will keep the friendship going offering help, advice and sometimes money. Not a lot of money but enough to make her squeal and OMG and type thank yous filling your screen with emojis. You toy with telling her your name is Tunde and not Tola, that you are a 5″10 male not a 5″5 female but you send her memes instead.

One night, a post looking for influencers catches your eye and you know what you must do. You change your handle to Progress2019 and follow the political influencers of the day. You get a professional picture taken, properly airbrushed to show you at your most handsome. By noon your alert confirms that you have been paid your first installment of influencing fees.

Trix stumbles into your DMs full of questions hurt and betrayal. You are still composing some kind of explanation when you discover you Β can no longer send direct messages to that user.

(She ll forgive you later but not after all kinds of middlemen, peacemakers and go-betweens are sent with entreaties.)

You ll sit back now and exhale. Congratulations, you are now an overlord.

12 Things They Never Told Me About Twitter.

Southern Nigeria, Jan 2010.

Chi-chi : Are you on Twitter?

Me: What is that?

Chi-Chi: A Social Media network. Like Facebook. You’ll love it! Just get it on your Ph–

Me: Forget it. Facebook is a handful already. I can’t.

Chi-Chi: Forget Facebook! Twitter is the place to be! You get to meet and tweet at all your favourite Celebs from all around the world….

Me: ( laughing ) … And? How does that help the pump prices?

Chi-Chi: Na you sabi, abeg Just try it. You’ll thank me later I promise.

Me: Hian! Okay o! But Chi-Chi, if this flops….

Western Nigeria, November 2013.

It has been about two years on this roller coaster ride called Twitter. Everytime I remember that talk with Chi-Chi I am just amazed at the power of Ignorance. My Ignorance. And its ability to keep us holed up, bound, trapped in old ways, habits, religions and relationships.

Today, I want to share twelve things I have learnt, from the minute I took the plunge into this crazy Aviaspora pool, to date. Six today, six later. I pray this will give someone out there a heads up on their Twitter game, and courage to try something new this week.

After all ‘strangers are friends we haven’t met yet.’

Gracias.

1. Choose a short and catchy name.
Hey, Welcome To Twitter! Great to have here Mr Samaila Toochukwu NtantaOffiong Jaiyesola!

I believed all that, but no one told me that a successful twitter handle is as brief as possible. Not too short, as to be forgettable, not too long as to stick out by the sides. Just right. It took me all of 4 months to morph into StNaija. But it was worth it. πŸ™‚

2. Break your egg.

Pictures are a universal language. The world, is a globe. One thing any Twitter user can understand is pictures. The Egg you get when you open an account needs to be changed. Fast. More on this in Part 2. πŸ™‚

3. Create or Carve or Kidnap a niche

Where do you belong? What sort of things are you

1. Very knowledgeable about

2. Very Enthusiastic about.

Let the answers to these questions guide your Follow/unfollow, Tweet/Retweet, Mention/Ignore actions. On Twitter, Less is often more.

4. Decide why you are here

Why did you open a Twitter account?

To read? Inform? Make money? Meet people? Stay current? More on this in Part 2.

5. Watch your Profile

How well do you know your statistics?

How do they compete with ‘Industry’ averages?

What are your ratios? (More on those in…you got it…part 2.)

6. Guard it Jealously.

Yup. You have to watch that basket. Else you’ll find that your eggs hatched but some wicked tweet thief came and stole them all.

What are your strategies to keep people following you? (???)

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I hope you enjoyed that. What didn’t they tell you about Twitter? Please share with us below.

Munto Obrigado/a

Sagay’s Twitter Beach Party 1

When he followed her back in a blink she felt warm all over– a pleasurable sense of being desired. She had a crazy mental picture of the tall well built guy snuggling behind her, warming her back, and cupping the curve of her bum like a spoon. She cast the thought away. Newly wed women weren’t meant to think such things.

In the days that followed, she read his tweets like a self-help manual, trying to get behind the brown eyes and the bright smile. She soon learned that he loved fast cars, rooted for Manchester United FC and hated indomie noodles. She also learned that he lived in Lagos, was single and liked Jazz. They were a match, so far.

Pius wanted to know why she was always smiling when she fiddled with her phone.

“Nothing dear, just these silly http://www.thenakedconvos.com readers. Gosh! Honey can you imagine there’s another list on http://www.connectnigeria.com!”

Pius would walk out in a huff. She would stretch and zoom Dafe’s latest avi.

It would have gone on like this forever: she, a secret admirer, Dafe, another tall muscular guy in aviaspora, Pius none the wiser, but Sir Sagaysagay ( http://sagaysagay.com ) had to host a Twitter party, fifteen minutes away from her house. And Dafe had to ask her to come with him.

She couldn’t of course. What woman in her sane mind sneaks out of her home to see a stranger? On her honeymoon? Especially after the Cynthia incident? Her marriage was just four months old, darn it. Yet, a plan to attend was already born.

It was a simple plan. All she had to do was get her hair messed up. Pius couldn’t stand unkempt hair, he would be the one to chase her off to the salon. She would get neat Ghana braids done while he was at work and then dump a old wig on it. On her way home to the party, she’d discard the wig and viola! New hairdo. Yes, that would work.

That would work just fine.

*

Thanks for reading the intro. Book your copy of the full story for just N100 now. πŸ˜‰

Why I Followed You

You made so much sense during the Occupy Nigeria protests, it was as close to a handshake as I could get.

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Your avi. Dang!

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When I read through your TL, I had to keep my thumbs bent, else I would retweet 4/5ths of it. You are a kindred spirit.

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Your love for God caught me off guard. It was so fresh, so strong, so irresistible. I couldn’t help myself.

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You tweet the most fascinating links. Thank you.
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Your stories are a letter from a long lost sister. Following you was a reunion. Welcome.
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With a bio like that it was a done deal. Of course nothing says it better than a random sampling of tweets.
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Thank you, following you saved me thousands in newspaper bills. My gratitude is boundless.

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An act of kindness. Help for your struggling hustle. Alas, you didn’t appreciate this. Check. You have eight followers now instead of nine.
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Mutuality. Who are you? That when an OverLord follows you, you don’t jog back? Ah! I know better than that.

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You were that one true P I had to set. I will, just haven’t gotten the liver yet.

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Reading your tweets light up my day like a thousand golden lanterns.
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You feed my muse. She has spun five characters of your antics. Don’t stop. Please. My Nobel is in you somewhere.
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You followed me when I was an egg. Nah, we are stuck. For-web-ever.
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Your support, RTs, defence, Voltronism and loyalty are unparalleled. Justice is dead, yes. But I wasn’t her murderer.
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You knew just the right reply to send at the right time. You are a keeper. That is for sure.
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Your graphics. (^β€’^) (‘-‘) (β€’’_’β€’)

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Your wisdom. Reading your tweets is a trip to depths of the profound. Yes, I would do it again and again.
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Your kindness. No one else noticed when I lost my cat. You are special like that.
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Fawning. Yes, that’s what it was. We all have our heroes. You were mine before the ship hit the rocks.
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Curiosity. Maybe if I follow this guy I will find out what so fabulous about him.
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Hope. If I follow maybe she will too.
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I dunno. Maybe it was just meant to be. πŸ˜‰

Why I Unfollowed You

I clicked follow by mistake.


I wanted us to make it work but 30 tweets a minute was out of my league.


You spammed my TL . Do you have to cc everyone from the Pope to Lucifer? For a 200 word rant? Seriously?



We rubbed each other the wrong way. When I tweeted ‘Guys Rule’, you had to say ‘Girls Rock’. When I opined– ‘The patient dog got the meat’, you remembered ‘the early bird got the fruit’. it was inevitable.


How can you tweet nudes by 10 am? Are you the only applicant in the world? Abeg.


Two months. No tweet. No retweet. No sign. Sorry love, Twitter is done real time.


A Direct Message in the first two minutes, asking me to buy something. Say what?


You wouldn’t follow back, even though you followed just 30 people. C’mon man.


How could you say Michelle Obama wasn’t fine? Did your glasses break or someone stole your eyes?


It was high maintenance. Can’t you exist for 24 hours without cursing Mr President? Can’t you see the man has it rough already? What makes you think you’d do better? Seeing that you are a single man who can’t even lead a wife and a kid?


It was a matter of principle. The good book said “cut off anything that would keep you from heaven”. Reading your R-rated tweets, threatened my mansion.


You stole my tweet.


I was just being kind, doing to you as you had done.


Your handle. Jesus didn’t rise for me to follow Lucifer’s Boo, Maneaterrrr and DevilDame, you make this thing hard.


I have a bible. The least you could do is to give me your testimony or translation. Sorry, there’s only so much TL room.


You are a ghost. You hover on my follower count. No Retweets , no mentions, no thing-am-abouts. No. That wasn’t the plan.


Your avi is eww.


Your unfollower tool said 200 people did it. I felt left out.


Twitter for Blackberry won’t give me a mute button. So I did what I did.


I am sorry. It is not you. It is me.
I un-followed you but please, don’t un-follow me.
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Why do you unfollow people? Share with us in the comments. πŸ™‚