I have 63 people following my Twitter account @LessonsOfLunacy. I don’t know any of them and they don’t know me. I’m also fairly certain that they have no real interest in anything I have to say. I doubt they even read my tweets.
What I’ve found in my uber-scientific 2 week experiment with Twitter is that everyone is all talk – literally. It’s worse than the phrase “in one ear and out the other” because unless you’re Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian, nothing you say will ever penetrate the consciousness of anyone. They’re too busy dreaming up some scam to generate more followers that they imagine will read the meaningless things they have to say. And the only reason they want followers is (1) to brag about it and (2) to feed their fantasy of people actually listening and caring about what they are saying.
Maybe I’m a little tainted, but it truly seems to me that the goal of over 99.999% of Twitter users is to get as many followers as possible at any cost, even if that means openly selling out to the #FollowBack retweets. So of course as soon as I see someone doing that I “unfollow” them, right? Well, no. I follow whoever they say to follow so I can get more followers of my own. Because it’s one thing to recognize the insanity of it all and it’s another thing entirely to act rationally according to that recognition.
So if that means following people you don’t know because they promise to follow you back or because they have thousands of foll0wers and may one day retweet something clever you wrote, so be it. Problem is, I’m not Kim or Justin; I could be as clever as a wagon load of monkeys (I just looked that up – it actually is a saying), but no one will recognize it.
Facebook, on the other hand, is much the opposite: you only friend people you already know. It is rare to meet people through the app – it still depends upon actual face to face socialization. And that is so ’90s…
There is surely a solution in between where new, meaningful acquaintances can be made – dynamically. What’s needed is a neuralogical algorithm to link people to other people based on their ideas and thoughts of the moment.
This would mean that the things I say or tweet would not go to deaf ears, but to people who are receptive to my tweets. And I wouldn’t have to constantly hear about tweets I don’t care about, like the latest hardware listed for sale on Amazon or how to get Justin Bieber to follow me – unless of course I was into that at the given moment.
I envision this as the “Genius” of social networking, similar to Apple’s Genius feature in iTunes that generates a list of tunes similar in genre, style and mood to the song that you’re currently listening to. But what I’m thinking about is something much more adaptable and intelligent.
As I’ve said before on these pages, my job is to dream up the ideas and concepts, not to actually flesh out the physical designs (yeah, I know that’s the easy way out). I’m fully aware of the astounding technical capabilities required for such a system. But you are smart people; I’m sure you can get around these silly constraints. For example, I know that this would require a way for a person’s current mindset and ideas to be transmitted from within the intricate 3 lb. lump of gray and white matter to the app. I don’t envision typing this info into an interface as a viable ’10s solution.
So there is a technology gap that obviously needs to be filled. I don’t hold myself within such silly existential constraints. Similar to other bloggers, maybe I’ll stage a competition where the person that figures out how to engineer this solution gets…hmmm, to be a trillionaire. How’s that sound? [for legal reasons, let me be clear here: I will not be paying anyone a trillion dollars and will not be legally bound to do so under any circumstances. The trillion dollar prize comes as your newly developed technology basically takes over the world Dr. Evil style.]
Surely some of you are gasping at the utter thought of changing the inner workings of a worldwide and wildly successful app like Twitter. Fear not. This capability could be gradually and seamlessly phased in as an option or beta feature that isn’t mandatory at first. That way, those change-adverse cretins that so slow down the progress of humanity can ease into this without any dramatic outbursts and ground pounding.
But then again, we are always quick to forget the things we love, especially if the new gives us great utility and pleasure. Imagine the potential from both a personal and business perspective (take that pinky out of your mouth, Dr. Evil). Of course there are valid privacy issues, but I do see the next generation being even less guarded than the current breed of tweens that have never known a disconnected world. Soon, the dinosaurs that fear this open world where technology (and your marketing friends that deliver focused ads) can actively know your mindset will be extinct or irrelevant for better or for worse.
It is always possible that the popularity of the Twitters and Facebooks may just fade away. We’re quick to forget things we love even if there is no new alternative. As my wife (and past high school prom date) recently said while waxing nostalgic with high school friends and discussing social media: “I didn’t go to the prom with anyone I really care about.”
See how fast they forget?