How Twitter Fails the Sniff Test
by JMD Alfano
#Twitter is reactive, mostly. No matter how forward we may think we are, we’re always slightly behind the curve of decision-makers who shape their messaging and actions to some degree off of what they read here (Twitter metrics providing ‘real-time’ data reads on where we are in what we think from one moment to the next).
What amounts to insider-information comes wrapped in a relatively closed loop environment controlled and policed by Twitter itself. What’s interesting even to the layman is how predictable Twitter user behavior is. Embedded patterns emerge based on pre-existing social cliques and interests that are fundamentally narrow in scope, all based on tribal affiliations, with few leading voices attracting followers in search of validation (and all limited by 280 characters).
Do I have that right?
Popularity (almost never popular) out-performs insight; the voice of the hive guarding itself against all comers, valuing a poorer means of virtual belonging over, more crucially, a commitment to inspired action where and when it counts most.
Effective response to what ails us? There is almost none of that here. Just ringing natter with nothing much to show for it save more of the frustratingly inane, echoing same.
Twitter knows this, of course, and reigns perched above it all like a lifeguard at a public pool, looking out for … for what? Not drowning frolickers (no, by all means, feel free to drown publicly from whatever ills you personally despair of), but — mischief-makers: the potentially or dangerously anomalous: individuals brazen enough to buck trend and break code.
Now 2 things about fomenting healthy dissent on Twitter:
1) Pretty sure they won’t let you (especially not if you’re a freedom-minded conservative), and …
2) Good luck anyway, as that’s not what happens here (consider the vast volume of tweets relative to memorable outflows).
By virtue of the same tribal ‘rules’ of conduct adopted by Twitter users to maintain custom to existing loyalties (running under rules enforced by Twitter itself), you would be right to say that apart from all the safe snark, perpetual outrage and booyah triumphalism … that Twitter has quite ingeniously tricked us all out of our human initiative.
We’ve traded unshackled dignity for fettered tchotchkes — shiny foil pulled on a string luring all of us in endless circles.
For the life of us (perhaps literally at some point), we’d rather stare at screens in the bearable discomfort of our fading luxuries then get off our asses and actually do something.