- Voice in the Wind Magazine Inc.
We’ve all heard a lot about Elon Musk buying Twitter. These days, the talking heads are all speculating about how Elon Musk might change twitter’s algorithms, alter the rules around censoring tweets and in general how much of a disruptor he will be when he takes over as owner. I’m here to tell you he won’t – nothing will fundamentally change. And here’s why.
Twitter’s ecosystem works like this: all the biggest names have a symbiotic relationship with their trolls/haters. This is how someone goes viral as I have observed it. Let’s say that I am following several talking heads. Many of them are women and many of them use a rant as their presentation style. One such woman is Tomi Lahren. One day, I (intentionally) drop a hypothetical tweet like this: ‘I was just looking at who I follow on twitter and it turns out I dig angry chicks’. The feminists (haters) will jump on it and retweet it like crazy, with responses like ‘Why do men always like angry women? What’s up with that?’. The working men (trolls) will jump on it and retweet it with responses like ‘Haha. Check it out – this dude likes angry chicks. That’s awesome!’ In this way, the tweet goes viral and I get huge numbers of people reading my tweets and some extra followers. After all, the people reading about my viral tweet are NOT haters. They’re just people who haven’t read my tweets before and might become part of my audience. This is all ‘fine and dandy’, until radicalization sets in. This happens more often with political tweets, but you get the idea. In real life, tribalism and division set in and twitter began censoring tweets. In a nutshell, the business revolves around that symbiotic relationship, which means it revolves around people taking tweets out of context. The talking heads all stay popular and the promise of the Twitter Dream (being found and made a star) lives on. As a side note, the Twitter Dream is kind of like the lottery, all the little people play in the hopes that they will win big, but very few do. Nevertheless people try. Hope is a powerful motivator.
Fixing twitter means breaking twitter. Fixing twitter is as easy as adding in “framing” to each tweet. There are two basic models to follow and a third for fun:
- Business – Each tweet has four corners (from top left to bottom right) dedicated to the following information (category, politics, delivery style/tone and presentation style).
- Personal – Each tweet has these four corners (job title/clique, demographic, delivery style/tone, education/hobby). Example: (Accountant, Plus+, Sarcastic, Degree)
- Cosplay/Avatar – Each tweet has these four categories (gamertag/character name, class/character type, delivery style/tone, favorite game/movie). Example: (PrinceMikey, Protector/Knight, Thoughtful, Final Fantasy)
This system would allow minority voices to be more visible and maybe promote diversity on twitter. This would also “fix” twitter by adding in the much needed context. To use my earlier example: Let’s say I follow Tomi Lahren. She’s prominent enough and uses the rant as her presentation style for her “Final Thoughts” segment. My earlier reference to following “angry chicks” was the result of a misinterpretation – she’s not angry, she’s creating a presentation. By “framing” tweets (and for that matter videos) one can clearly see this is true. It’s declared up front. But this would break twitter. You see, the trolls/haters were intentionally misrepresenting my (hypothetical) tweet. The tweet was intended to be humorous and self-deprecating. With “framing”, the tweet would have had the following in the four corners, again top left to bottom right: Opinion, Free Thinker, Self-Deprecating, Humor. It would have been almost impossible for the haters/trolls to respond like they did because everyone would have seen exactly the context in which I posted the tweet. This also means I don’t go viral. The talking heads don’t stay relevant and the Twitter Dream dies. Or does it?
Twitter should absolutely have a mechanism for “framing” tweets added in and so should all other social media platforms – with one condition: An alternative mechanism for staying relevant must be present and work too. So what could we substitute in?
- Achievements – Just like video games users can get a tweet promoted for free (I’m thinking between 10 and 50 ad/tweets per award) for achievement they ‘unlock’. Achievements can include things like: exchanging 10 or more tweets with a minority or replying to 50 or more tweets from someone with different politics. Anything to start a real conversation and help minimize radicalization. This might allow twitter to be a more positive influence and encourage constructive feedback.
- Twitter’s Got Talent! – If you’ve watched the show you know the premise. Twitter asks people to tweet links to videos of interesting/weird talents and offers to promote the tweets for free in return. Talking heads can be given some free promos for holding a contest and some to pass on to the winner.
I’m sure there are many more ideas to increase traffic on twitter but the gist of this is that something needs to be done to support the success of individuals on the platform and while allowing for positive change too.
I hope that one day my ideas will help to make this world a better place. In the meantime, please like, share and subscribe to read my book. And please follow me on twitter! Thanks so much!
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