I have been active on the World Wide Web for two decades, two thirds of my life. Half of that time has been spent as a twitter Â user. I was among the first to use the service and I saw it go from being a curiousity to being the most popular conversation tool around. When twitter was young the iPhone was in it’s infancy and data plans did not exist. As a result it was SMS based. The SMS idea was short lived as it ended up costing the twitter founders too much.
Twitter owes an immense debt of gratitude to Apple, the iPhone and the shift towards mobile data plans somewhere other than Finland. When we were Twitter infants, when we were discovering the network and thinking of how to use it we were stuck at a computer and dependent on wifi and power sockets. If we left the house we missed on the conversation. Twitter at the time was a compelling network, especially since I was lucky enough to live in London during the golden age of Twitter.
Twitter is a fantastic and compelling social network that has the wrong people affecting its feature. Marketers, public relations professionals, investors and other groups are too busy trying to push content to people rather than attract people.
Yesterday afternoon I came across the term “Organic Social media” in relation to Instagram’s shift from a reverse chronological timeline to an algorithm driven timeline. A shift in the definition of social media has taken place. A decade ago social media implied that people were sharing content and commenting on it. They were making statements and friends and colleagues would comment conversationally. Marketers et al have destroyed the conversation and shifted everything towards an “I am the best so look at me” fed by likes, comments, shares and other tricks.
As Twitter turns ten years old I grow curious about the future of friendships and online conversations. I question whether social media landscapes will become as unfriendly to introverts as bars in the physical world. Will social media become the place where the most conventionally appealing individuals thrive?