Today, I will talk a little about something that has been on my mind for a while now. Over the years, especially since 2015, Twitter has become the main medium where I read about current events, opinions and share my thoughts back to the world. I get to know what’s going on in the world thru the people and accounts I follow. On the other hand, it also allows me to vent off 140 characters at a time.
To me, the sheer number of accounts and the amount of content on Twitter platform have two consequences:
- It’s impractical to meaningfully follow more than a few hundred accounts. So people usually choose to follow key names whose content they find relevant. These names are usually a real world household names (politicians, artists, journalists etc) or people who reached fame via Twitter for being early adapters who share interesting content. A last category is formed by the people you actually know in person. As a result, for the majority of people (except well-known names), their followers are either otherwise existing friends (who use Twitter) and a bunch of others who find your content worth while.
- As a corollary to the point #1, the content generated by either real life or Twittersphere celebrities attract a highly disproportionate rate of interaction (fav, mention or RT) while the bulk of the content of the most other people on the platform remain unnoticed. Sending a tweet that attracts zero interaction is like talking aloud on your own. It’s not even like shouting alone in the mountains, because it doesn’t have that ‘discharge’ effect. It’s damaging to one’s ego, no matter how much you might have tamed it.
At the end, when above two factors are combined with the innate human need to be acknowledged and appreciated, you get ‘another’ iteration of a well-known social order: The design of the system inherently flows value (here in the form of recognition and appreciation) from the masses to the very few at the top of the ‘food chain’. This is not a value statement, it’s a recognition of a fact. Is there anything that can be done about it? I think not, except acknowledging that it’s out there.