This weekend, I realised that despite not doing something related to work, the things I enjoy had always been screen-based — Kindle, Netflix, video games etc. I have been thinking about reducing the time I spend online, and in order to do that, I figured I should question myself why I am on a particular social media platform.
Over the years I have always preferred being on Twitter than any other social media platforms. Instagram and Goodreads come a close second. If I were being asked why Twitter, and not say, the seminal Facebook, I would probably say because of its public nature as well as its UI — as much as it is evolving — allow me and its users to be exposed to a wider net of information diffusion, thus providing us to be able to evaluate one issue at hand from multiple perspectives. Sure, there were talks about Twitter inducing homophily, filter bubble (related: filter bubble is not to be used interchangeably with echo chamber) and political polarisation and extremism, but suffice to say I still get exposed to new information every day and for now I am glad that I still get to use the platform at my own will, so far.
Design Week decided to ask a number of people in design on how they use Twitter, and this response from Tom Ackman of Mat Dolphin encapsulates (at least my experience of) everyday interaction on the platform:
Using Twitter is a double-edged sword and often like being back at school: Everyone starts off trying to impress their peers and get the most friends in the playground, but most people question why they’re there in the first place. There’s the daily bike shed scrap to look forward to, and people aren’t interested in you if you’re weird or boring. If you’re the last one to know something everyone figures you’re a bit slow, but equally no one ever likes the show-off or know it all. There are tonnes of loudmouth bullies waiting in the sidelines to pick a fight, and you always get more friends when you share your homework. And when you do finally get some distance from it, you wonder what all the fuss was about …
You never know who you’ll be rubbing shoulders with, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to learn something new every day. You’re surrounded by like-minded people, and the variation in topics and subjects means you can make new friends all the time. You feel part of a larger collective moving forwards together, and you never forget that moment when one of the older kids says something that just clicks. You get to meet people from different cultures and far away lands, but no matter where you’re from you share the common goal of furthering knowledge and learning. It can be really fun and engaging too, and everyone remembers the day a dog ran into school.
If you are on Twitter, how would you describe your experience?