Before I was required to create a twitter account, I told myself that I was never going to be part of that form of social media. As I was creating my account and filling out the required information like name, username and email, I had the option of checking a box stating, “ Tailor Twitter based on your recent website values”. This took me by surprised because our discussion in class from Wednesday was about how the algorithms of the computer shaped how we view the web as well as what is shown on the web. As mentioned in the video, ‘Beware online “filter bubbles”‘ this proves that Twitter also plays a part in what the computer thinks we want to see rather than what we have to see. It becomes another filtered bubble that keeps reality hidden from view. In a way it leaves the user in the dark and for me that is a really scary factor. It has an influence on the way we establish which topic is more important when in fact the reality of the situation is that it could be just a minor fluke in the grand scheme of things.
First off, I found it very strange that there was 140 word limit to your thoughts. How can you possibly express yourself or learn about a new event in such few words? The more I started to explore twitter, I realized that it was another platform for promotion as well as an outlet for the most witty and funny lines. I took me forever to find a thick tweet to tweet about because there is a certain formula behind it. Just like Imgur and Tumbler, in order to get the most likes, or in this case the most followers, the user has to come up with a creative witty line or image in order to garner attention. Otherwise, the user is deemed boring and awkward because they do not understand the world of social media, they do not comprehend the formula behind it.
With the creation of the 140 character tweet, our attention spans also shortened because of the shortened text. As mentioned in “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, due to the intake of fast and short information, our brain, in a way has been rewired. It is true that for most of us, we have the inability to focus on large texts. We use headlines or the abstracts as substitutes for reading the articles. Twitter does this too. A newscast would tweet a headline along with the link, but from my experience, I only read the headline because I lack the concentration and the patience to read through the article. If I do decide to open the article, I proceed to do a quick browse to understand the idea behind it. As a result, our interest towards important current events decreases and instead we are pull towards the most viral video, image, or tweet because it requires no effort. Twitter among other social media has also become the TV version of the potato chips for the brain.