On Twitter, nobody knows you’re Salman Rushdie...

The gifted writer, or at least someone who passes for him, is sighted on Twitter. And to claim his identity, he now plans to write 'Tweet' a novel.

Vembu September 18, 2011 14:07:28 IST
On Twitter, nobody knows you’re Salman Rushdie...

On the Internet, the famous cartoon line goes, nobody knows you’re a dog.

Salman Rushdie, the masterly spinner of yarns, who has had mullahs hopping mad ever since The Satanic Verses came out, has a similar problem on Twitter today.

Nobody believes it’s him Tweeting away on the @SalmanRushdie1 Twitter handle. He (or whoever is masquerading him) claims that Twitter won’t verify his ID yet. “I’m supposed to update my bio and increase my activity or Twitter won’t verify that this is actually me. But it is, anyway.”

On Twitter nobody knows youre Salman Rushdie

Is it him or is it not? A Rushdie sighting on Twitter leaves his fans gasping. Andrew Winning / Reuters

And since he’s “still getting the hang of this Twitter thing” and has put out only a handful of Tweets, building up a litany of literary Tweets enough to establish his identity could take a while.

Worse for Rushdie, the @salmanrushdie Twitter handle has been appropriated – by someone named Jigar Gupta, who hasn’t so much as uttered a squeak on the social media platform. And Rushdie can’t claim it until his Twitter identity is verified. Which is why he’s stuck for now with the handle that’s decidedly a rung lower in the ladder of naming conventions.

Which is also why the prodigious writer (if, indeed, it is him), who recently confessed to being “something of a master” at the Angry Birds game, is himself one Angry Bird.

He was provoked enough to challenge the usurper of his identity, in language that doesn’t exactly ooze of magical realism. “Who are you?” he thundered. ”Why are you pretending to be me? Release this username. You are a phoney.”

Well, many among his 310 followers are similarly unconvinced that this is the real Mr Rushdie. An undercurrent of scepticism characterises the discussion over whether it is, although at least a couple of celebrities on Twitter have “endorsed” him.

Even Shabana Azmi, to whom he sent a birthday wish earlier today, hasn’t responded.

Now, Rushdie (if, indeed, it is him) has set out to establish his identity in the most compelling way he knows: by spinning a yarn. Starting tomorrow, he says, he will tweet a story, titled “A Globe of Heaven.”

Earlier Twitter novel projects haven’t quite fared well, and the enterprise could be challenging even for one so prodigious as him.

Nevertheless, for Rushdie fans, just following the Tweets to figure out if they are in fact following the master himself would be a literary treat in itself.

For now, there isn't any fatwa on following him...

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