The world has boarded the crazy train and its not getting off anytime soon. This is a long ride ahead. Or maybe this is the new normal. Part of the craziness we are experiencing, is most definitely in part, due to the proliferation of social media. We now are experiencing trolls, stalkers, bots, and fans in a whole new way. There is a cacophony of opinions out there that appear to just overwhelm the truth. There is truthiness and alternate facts. And these all have taken off in major ways due to social media. Before only a few people would hear your opinion. Now the whole world can be subject to it. People can’t seem to contain their rage. Before there was roid rage and road rage. Now there is twitter rage.
Because of all this chaos at both macro and micro levels, many people are “quitting” twitter. They are deleting their accounts and hoping to never look back. I believe Ed Sheeran (the singer) gave up Twitter and just this week CNN newscaster Alisyn Camerota gave up on Twitter. She noted in a letter to Twitter “You’re a cesspool of spleen-venting from people who think it’s acceptable to insult other people in public and anonymously.” And ain’t that the truth. But I find that all so interesting. But I will get back to that in a second.
The thing is people don’t only give up on social media, they write an essay on why they are quitting said social media. Quitting Twiter is a big production. But does anyone really care? Twitter may not be around for much longer. Who knows? MySpace was a big deal one day over a decade ago and then it wasn’t, as it was superceded by Facebook. The quetsion is, when Twitter goes the way of the dodo or MySpace, what will replace it? Will we swing back to the other end of the spectrum? Will something that is nice and complimentary (instead of insulting) come to replace it?
Regardless of whether it is here for the longrun or not, for the forseable future, I don’t see myself quitting Twitter. I must admit, I barely tweet. I maybe do two tweets a day. Back when organizations were starting to use it, they were advised to tweet, at minimum, 10 tweets a day. That’s assuming that they were distributing useful information out to the public. I’m not too sure what’s an optimum number of tweets per day. Anyway, I don’t feel that drive to tweet that often. I primarily use Twitter to look at trending topics. I do it everyday morning, evening and night. I love to see what has captured the attention of the world. As a psychologist, this is a treasure trove of information on the collective psyche. How could I pass that up? Furthermore, I admit I love the so-called hashtag wars. That’s when you a silly, random hashtag prompt comes out of nowhere and you have to come up with a quirky, cool response. For instance, today there was #90sWereTheBestBecause and #addPandasImproveAnything. For that last one, one top liked response was “this pandaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun…”. A riff on the song “Baby got Back“. Its silly, but fun. I love having to try to come up with a quick, witty response. Its like being back in the playgrounds of New York Cituy. How these hashtags get started is a bit of a mystery to me. Again, however, this is a treasure trove for researching collective movements and how they start and fizzle out.
This is all fabulous data. I am a nerd at heart and that is partly why I won’t quit Twitter. Its a mass-scale social experiment. So, I can’t quit it just yet. I can stand on the sidelines and watch the circus.