The Twitter Collective

By on Aug 12, 2009 in Editorial |

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Last week, Twitter was brought down by a denial of service attack, and yes, shock horror, no one could post to Twitter. To be sarcastic about this, you could say oh no, we can’t post pointless information about our lives which nobody cares about anyway and that national productivity shot up. In a lot of cases, this was frankly true.

Resistance is futile, you will be twitterfied!

Resistance is futile, you will join Twitter!

Although, I think there was another effect which only regular participants of Twitter would understand. We were all suddenly disconnected. I noticed quite a few people either posting more to Facebook or forums, as a substitute for Twitter. I think this hints at the subconscious need we build on these web services. First of all, if you are so inclined to talk about yourself, then there was no where for you to share your thoughts during the day. No matter who answers you, you know that on Twitter there’s always at least someone out there, who’s going to see what you want to say, which is kind of comforting, if you are so inclined.

Conversely, if you’re so into Twitter that you have a desktop or mobile application where you see a constant, automatically updated, stream of Tweets from those who you follow, you get used to seeing what other people are thinking, to which you may or may not react, or find useful. This is something I have started to think of as the hive mind, not unlike a “borg” from Star Trek being linked to The Collective.

When I put it like this, Twitter sounds suddenly unhealthy, although last time I checked I didn’t have any metallic implants sicking out of me. I really do think that this is in fact a great show of how dependant we are on the internet, and that it is actually a good thing. The internet itself is just a thing, what we are in fact dependant upon is having connections to each other regardless of geographic distance. I don’t know about you, but I think that is an incredibly powerful idea, so long live the dependance, and let’s dissolve those national boundaries!

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