Communication breakdown

Twitter is dead. Long live … whatever comes next.

Twitter actually died a few years back. It was around about the time when your timeline began to fill up with images.

About the same time that The Algorithm started showing you what it thought was important to you, rather than what you chose to see.

After it moved from 140 characters to 280.

We accepted it at first. We thought these features were benefits.

About the same time it became a pulpit, a Speakers’ Corner perhaps, for voices rather than for people.

The power of Twitter was never in its content delivery. Not even in its ability to point to content—despite pharma companies the world over thinking that if it’s being seen on Twitter it must be reaching the target audience (trust me: this is [part of] the day job).

No.

Twitter was about the connection, about the network; about the people.

That’s why we called it social networking, not social media.

It’s why we had #FollowFriday—a mechanism to say here, here’s someone you ought to get to know; they’re interesting.

What’s next, I wonder. Have we lost the ability to make connections through the interwebs? Is it really all about consuming content now, about clicks and likes and reshares? I met many people through Twitter, people I still like and talk to and care for, regardless of what they actually produce or how many followers they have.

Will the next generation be able to connect in the way we did a dozen years ago, to make those relationships and friendships that never, really, actually, depended on churning out virogenic bon mots?

I don’t know.

But I can’t help but feel, that in this world so battered by the consequences of COVID-19, we have lost something important.

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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