Social Media Tech

Twitter’s soul decay

Rumor has it that no one–neither Microsoft, Disney, Salesforce, nor Google–wants to acquire Twitter. The common fear though is that the ‘media company' as we know it today is going to change regardless of its new owner.

While it's not clear how Twitter would disappear, or how your profile would renew, some of Twitter's longest and most passionate users like Navneet Alang, find it hard to imagine a life without looking through the lens of the blue bird. Below are some of the highlights from his think-piece on the cultural and neurocognitive impact of Twitter.

On tweeting daily into the empty box:

Twitter has colonized my mind. Almost every day for just under a decade, I have checked the site, have tweeted, retweeted, been subtweeted. My mental map is the frontier surrendered, and Twitter is the empire. To become occupied by a social network is to internalize its gaze.

On tweeting out loud and developing an audience:

But a decade on, I still find myself thinking in the terms of Twitter: how each absurd, mundane happening in my life might be framed so as to be alluring to my audience, a potential employer, a date, or new friend. I still always carry my followers with me. In fact, I can’t get rid of them. They are like a ghostly companion, ever at my side. It isn’t just my tweets that have changed, but the way in which I relate to reality.

On the external impact of Twitter and other social networks:

We are always being reconfigured from the outside in. Just as the book shaped thought in a particular way, so too do the many facets of digital, each in their own way.

We might be nearing the death of Twitter but not the extinction of our inherent publicness–people still want to be influencers, celebrities, curators, and content DJs including myself. Twitter fulfills the natural urge to share and be reshared. It's too culturally important to lose, despite all the nastiness, bullying, and offensive material, especially during this election.

Why doesn't Facebook acquire Twitter and replace its tardy trends with live, real-time Twitter-fueled relevancy? It appears that everything good ends up in the walls of Facebook. Twitter's plateau could spell the end of its elasticity as an open social network, proving that what matters isn't always popular.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of four books.

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