I joined Twitter in 2008. It was a lot of fun. Most of the active users were using it for business purposes, to exchange ideas, information and build personal relationships. I made friends all over the world — people I never would have crossed paths with in the non-virtual world. We helped each other build businesses and gave each other moral support.
Then the marketers discovered Twitter and gradually the emphasis shifted from conversation to self-promotion. Once the self-promotional snowball started rolling, there was no stopping it. Anybody and everybody with a product or service to sell was using Twitter to sell it.
Then celebrities discovered Twitter and a whole new snowball began to roll, an even bigger one. Everyone wanted to know what their favorite celebrities had to say about this or that. Gossip, and idolatry of a sort, began to dominate the platform’s conversation.
Then worst of all, politicians discovered Twitter and opinion manipulation became the dominant force on the platform. Candidates and political operatives began to use the platform in straightforward and devious ways to influence opinion. We saw an explosion of “fake news” and bots and trolling. Twitter responded by various policing efforts such as censorship and account verification.
What started as a positive, pleasant platform based on the exchange of ideas has become a forum for ideological manipulation, where the left slugs it out with the right, the globalists slug it out with the nationalists, the religious slug it out with the non-religious — on and on and on.
Of course, every camp blames every other camp for causing the problems — for the manipulation, the bullying, etc. Everyone wants Twitter to “fix” the problem by censoring the other guy’s accounts. When this effort fails, the next step will be legislation with fines or imprisonment for making statements that violate whatever PC standards rule that particular day. This is already being done in countries such as Germany and Great Britain.
What can we learn from the deterioration of Twitter?
- Some people lash out when disagreed with.
- Some people are more interested in influencing than in being influenced.
- Some people want to identify with a herd and follow it.
- Some people equate popularity with credibility.
Put this altogether and you have a social media platform where the blind lead the blind and the deaf speak to the deaf. The more words that spew forth, the more confused the issue becomes. Distinguishing right from wrong and true from false become nearly impossible, and conversations lead not to enlightenment, but instead to darkness.
Twitter won’t solve the problem. Certainly governments won’t solve the problem. We can, though, simply by steering clear of those four tendencies I mentioned above.
Imagine what would happen if we communicated in a spirit of kindness, communicated with an eagerness to learn rather than teach, cultivated the ability to think independently, and used great discernment in choosing our teachers.