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  • Harshad Joshi 1:55 pm on June 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Twitter, Facebook and mass hysteria 

    Twitter… Some call it a sensor network, made of people. Some perceive it as a fun way to spread quotes, links. A channel to transfer sparks from your gray matter, without high-level filtering. A screen to show whatever you follow. Those with poor vision may see only blobs but for good eyes, it becomes a glorious scene.

    But is it really possible to have good vision with Twitter? Is it possible to delve into deeper thoughts after all those RTs, quotes, foods and drinks consumed by your neighbours?




    Along with Facebook, which provides a constant stream of data from your small world, Twitter does not actually present telepathy but it offers a deformed, uncontrolled version of it: spamopathy. We are spammed every single day, with our consent.


    We are not aware of it, because our brains think that information from every familiar source is relevant to our life and can be trusted, compared to unfamiliar ones. However, RTs, likes and such effortless sharing options are elevating the noise from our environment. We better evaluate the value of information when we are forced to spend time to spread it. The size of our networks are also growing fast. It may be easy to control privacy with a bunch of settings but the cognitive burden of the network keeps getting heavier.


    Better filtering options can help us deal with some of the noise but still, people, the synapses in the system, won't perform a good evaluation when time for a spark is limited.

    Noise has become constant and an even more dominant part of the Internet. It has evolved to a whole new, real-time form. Real-time… and from your inner circle.


    Such an environment pushes us to mass hysteria because we lose our ability to attribute priorities, our ability to allocate time and display correct behaviour against important events.

    There are countless groups for different causes on Facebook. And in bad times (e.g. earthquakes), you can see lots of messages on Twitter about these events. But is our response different than to pointless events on the Web?


    No. Because retweeting and sharing has made every event in our network equally important, thus unimportant.


    Here's a prediction: Informational equivalence is going to hurt our psychology by destroying cognitive barriers between events. Every bit will be important and every false bit will become fact for at least 60 seconds. Someday, with increasing connection speeds and population, every single person on Earth will have the power to trigger mass hysteria based on lies.

    This entire blog is cut-copy-pasted from this link – http://www.turingroom.com/en/entry/twitter-facebook-and-mass-hysteria

  • Harshad Joshi 6:25 am on June 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

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