Twitter Cacophony

I follow 74 people on Twitter and that’s already too much to watch out for. I know there are Twitter lists on hundreds of topics and how they give you instant information. Well, if real wisdom and information were coming at you 24 hours a day, you wouldn’t be able to make any sense of it at all. Twitter’s firehose already has over 50 million tweets a day. Are you cleaner just because you stand under a torrent of water?  Or smarter because you stand in an information stream? A lot of it is going to wash over without any real effect. Guy Kawasaki tweets over a hundred times and basically, he and his retinue of ghost writers direct you to Alltop, the site he’s promoting 24 hours on the trot. Whether Guy is sleeping or not, his tweets steadily pile up.

Even smart people are not going to have something momentous to say time after time. The majority of tweets are rambling personal information, diet preferences, moods, and whines. Like conversations, few have the articulation and the depth to make perceptive observations, so listening to the majority is tuning into cacophony. The history of the common people in real time is here. And it’s boring, repetitive and largely irrelevant. Trawling through them is scrolling through tedium. It makes mediocre look good. And just recording your life does not make it epic. Even as media gushes about how Twitter is changing power structures through real-time information in Iran and Egypt, the fact is that Twitter feeds need curation – someone has to go through those tons of tweets and extract what’s valuable. On the other hand, if all of them are saying the same thing, isn’t the news on TV easier to follow?

Twitter used to be an ego trip. It’s now grown to be a pointer to links. And as many as 21% of Twitter users have not posted even once. If you have a million followers in real life, you’re a guru or a leader. On Twitter, you’re Ashton Kutcher. The whole point of a stream is that water keeps flowing and analysing every drop is an exercise in futility. It’s like looking at an atom and trying to figure out the universe. Sure, the atom is a part of that indivisible whole but there are quadrillions of them, right? I don’t think we’ve come very far from the ‘blind men and the elephant‘ analogy. We pretend to understand the big picture while we look at fragments and draw our conclusions