7 Reasons That Twitter Will Alter All Human Existence
Twitter: Fun? Yes. Useful? Yes. A culture-changing behemoth that will fundamentally alter all human existence? Yes. Here are seven reasons why.
1. Opinion. Twitter is a hotbed of instant opinion and, thanks to the medium, our ability to express opinion will remain undiminished. Unfortunately, also thanks to Twitter, all human opinion will eventually come to be expressed in 140 characters or less. Thus Machiavelli’s view of history as a tool for learning will change from:
“Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.”
“He’s just like his dad. Men are all the same. LOL.
And Albert Einstein’s,
“The population of the civilized countries is extremely dense as compared with former times; Europe today contains about three times as many people as it did a hundred years ago. But the number of leading personalities has decreased out of all proportion. Only a few people are known to the masses as individuals, through their creative achievements. Organisation has to some extent taken the place of leading personalities, particularly in the technical sphere, but also to a very perceptible extent in the scientific.”
“People are becoming more stoopid. LOL”
And where we would once have had wordy treatises extolling considered opinion on the omniscient nature of the supreme being, we will have:
“God knows. LOL.”
2. Mimicry. And it’s not just that opinion will be condensed to insubstantial gibberish. Some people will eventually be reduced to saying nothing at all. Thanks to the retweet button, the lazy and unoriginal will find it possible to maintain discourse with others without ever stating any of their own thoughts or opinions at all. This will be familiar to anyone who has ever conversed with a Daily Mail reader or a viewer of Fox News but, the spectre of it escalating further is worrying indeed. Perhaps thanks to the constant retweeting, the world will be reduced to having just one opinion on any given subject. Rupert Murdoch’s, probably.
3. Courage. And it’s not just that we’ll lack opinions and the capability for extended expression. Humanity will eventually develop to lack courage. Because when we disagree with the opinion that someone has just retweeted: “Pink is for sissies. LOL”, we won’t reply, “No it isn’t. Chuck Norris wears pink underpants. LOL”, we’ll send a direct message to someone else saying, “Did you see what @RupertMurdoch1874 just said? Where does he get off saying that? LOL.” Because as people fear losing followers or public ridicule they become more and more timid and secretive and would rather whisper things to their friends in the corner. Sadly, however, they don’t become any less stupid.
4. Shame. Shame will disappear completely as a human emotion. As we increasingly rely on Twitter for information that we would previously have acquired through knowing stuff and learning and having a modicum of sense and whatnot – or even just old-fashioned googling things – we will eventually attempt to acquire all of our important life information from Twitter.
“Is Twitter down? LOL”
“Can I eat lamb that’s been in the fridge for over a day? LOL”
“Is it weird that my period’s six weeks late? LOL”
“Why am I getting so fat? LOL”
Seriously, if our dead ancestors came back from the grave and saw the things that people tweet, they’d…er…die again, of shame. And spin too. (Okay, I really didn’t think that metaphor through but at least I’m not brazenly parading my stupidity on Twitter full-time. No. I’m busy writing this. I’m saving my Twitter-stupidity for later).
5. Emotions. Human expression of emotion will also come to be affected by Twitter. People will no longer smile, cry, or frown, they will merely write “*smiles”, “*cries”, “*frowns”, “*throws self under a bus. LOL”, to denote emotion. Whether this will extend to mainstream media is a matter of conjecture (which is fortunate as that’s what I’m doing. I’m conjecting. I’m a conjector), but it’s easy to imagine rolling news channels with banners stating “M6 Traffic Jam Reaches Sixth Day *sticks bottom lip out”, “Man Found Guilty Of Sex Act With Goat *eeuuggghhh” and “Osama Bin Laden Captured *punches air with fist”. Well, actually the last one is hard to imagine. But at least emoting by using the asterisk is some progress from using smileys and emoticons, which is just abusing perfectly good punctuation-marks in order to make a stupid bloody sideways face.
6. Internationalism. As cultures interact on Twitter, entire national traits will disappear as the world becomes a more homogenous place. After all, anyone who is aware of the Twitter phenomenon that has been @theashes, will have noted that, after 234 years of trying, an American has been finally converted to following the glorious sport of cricket. This means that, in a mere 71,839,532,700 years, the entire population of the United States will be cricket lovers, and the world will be all the better for that. And then we can start converting China. Seriously, Cricket will be the world sport in…(Nope, my computer isn’t powerful enough to compute that. Probably at about the time when people return to the sea and the dinosaurs come back in their meteor).
7. LOL. As the phrase “LOL” becomes so ubiquitous that every last feckless bastard ends their tweets with it (this will probably happen in about six days time) and we come not to notice that we’re doing it altogether and forget its original meaning, there will come a moment when someone actually wants to write “laughing out loud” which, as it takes up too many characters, they will abbreviate to LOL. And as all tweets will already be suffixed “LOL”, the tweet “LOL. LOL.” will eventually occur. And that will be the moment that Twitter, or humanity (or both) will implode. Or explode. Either way, there will definitely be a plosion of some sort. LOL.