Twitter, the online social media platform where people from around the globe can express their inner, most deep, and intellectually stimulating thoughts (in 140 characters or less), is less about empowering its users, and is more about empowering corporations to exploit you.
Twitter is a behemoth of online content sharing, and following its expansion, a wave of public and private interests followed. Twitter in turn has degenerated from a thought provoking tool for the masses, to nothing more than a shallow, self serving entity utilized by corporations and media outlets to enrich themselves off of our gullibility and short sightedness.
When Twitter first appeared on the scene in March of 2006, its design was meant to allow users to literally brainstorm in real time with each other, to bounce off creative flows at the click of a button. While Twitter is still utilized for this purpose, Twitter has evolved from its humble beginnings as an innovative and potentially world changing concept to something more of a corporate tool, meant to extract private information from its users to guess what- sell you something.
Whether that something be a person, product, or idea, Twitter has been descended upon by powerful interests in an effort to control the demand of an ever increasing information market. In turn Twitter has given off the perception that the user is in control of the content, when in reality the control is in the hands of wealthy, the corporations, and the influential.
A new TV comedy series put this all into perspective for me. @Midnight on Comedy Central, while funny and entertaining, has a more insidious goal in mind than cracking a few jokes at the absurdity of tweets posted by random users and celebrities. The intention in mind is to basically sell off the comedian’s Twitter account, to have you buy their products, and ultimately draw traffic to the Twitter account of whoever wins the comedy game show that night.
The constant plugging of the comedian’s Twitter handles is enough to drive the average person insane, and also helps to drive home the idea that the show isn’t about entertaining the viewer, but promoting the cause of a Twitter account.
Now while there is always some self-interest involved with any sort of TV appearance as such, the common shameless plug is nowhere near as blatant and self serving as the creators of @Midnight have design their show to be. Then again, it’s hard to miss the point when in any given 5 minutes of the show, host Chris Hardwick rambles off in an almost robotic and hypnotic fashion the Twitter handles of each comedian.
Of course, Twitter is a valuable source for information, for up to the minute news, and stories from around the world. But the positives of Twitter have been overshadowed by the negative, and has degenerated in many ways to the likes of a self obsessed materialistic teenage girl who wants nothing more than the shiny new product on her television screen.
There is nothing wrong with making money- hell, there’s nothing even wrong with having a Twitter account. What is wrong is the overt narcissism and self indulgence Twitter promotes, and the cash that is generated off of such a self-obsessed society.
Twitter’s public sharing will only beholden the company to its shareholders, preventing the social media website from halting the onslaught of interest groups and wealthy investors. To sum this up in a 140 characters or less, Twitter is a tool for corporations everywhere.
by John Amaruso