To me one of the major Twitter experiences is the feeling of being connected to millions of other brains on the planet. It’s like Isaac Asimov’s fictional fantasy of Gaia is starting to come true. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but whenever I encounter a new term one of my first thoughts is “wonder what’s tweeted on that subject right now?”. And now and then during the day I need to get my Twitter Trends fix. Sometimes it reveals totally new things to me. It’s how I first heard of Susan Boyle, for instance. I’ve now realized that I got to hear about Susan Boyle only hours after she had rocked Britain the first time. That’s amazing! Usually weeks and months pass before I catch up on such events. (I’m not a fan of the genre, but I don’t want to miss something like the Susan Boyle phenomenon.) It’s totally awesome to get this opportunity to plug in to the Brain. Thank you Twitter!
Of course, sometimes the Twitter Brain is a bit stupid. Often it’s very shallow. And, yes, not seldom it’s really introvert. (Discussions about Twitter itself seems to be what interests the Twitter community the most.) I’m OK with that. I’m not one to throw out the baby with the bath water. The signal vs noise ratio is still really high.
But what happens if the Twitter Brain dies? Do I risk going brain dead if I’m plugged in to a huge Brain when it dies? Yes, obviously I do.
Yesterday the Twitter folks changed a setting used by 2% of their user base. And somehow enough people shut of their brains and started to tweet stuff like “Twitter Failed! Retweet!”, “Twitter is bad. Please Retweet!” “Goodbye Twitter. RT this!” and so on and so forth. Fully and utterly useless crap. Then the brains of the receivers of those tweets went dead and they retweeted. And their followers retweeted. And their followers … You get the picture. It was like a disease. My time line was full of tweets like that. I think four out of ten slots on Twitter trends were related to this too. Check the hashtag #fixreplies out and you start to get the idea. I felt I had to throw something in to the balance and cheered the change. That never showed up on Twitter Trends though.
Please, please you tweeting people. (And all you non-tweeting people too). Keep your brains switched on! I’m plugged in to your brain and I don’t want to go brain dead. Maybe if keeping ones brain switched on at all times is hard, we can train ourselves to sense when it’s off? And then there’s No Tweeting!. Of course the “When retweeting, use common sense” rule apply too.
Yesterdays flat line of the Twitter Brain was scary. I hope it was an exception.
Addendum: I’m also amazed at the official Twitter response to the brainless outcries. They call it “lots of great info”. Totally funny.