Here are some features Twitter DID NOT have when it began in 2006.
- Permalinks for tweets
- An algorithm
All of these features came when users demanded them.
The search function was actually built by folks who didn't work at Twitter. It was a service called Summize that eventually got acquired by Twitter and integrated into the service.
Retweets started when users began sharing other people's tweets by adding an "RT" before the text.
Similarly, replies and mentions came into being when users started responding and referring to each other by adding an @ sign before people's usernames.
Twitter took this behaviour and turned it into a finction so that usernames with an @ sign before them became links to those users' profiles and eventually even triggered a notification.
The history of Twitter's growth has always been decided by how people chose to use it. This was, in many ways, the opposite of how something like Facebook worked. Design decisions were made by the makers of the site and people learned how to use them.
There was a time when Facebook was notoriously difficult to navigate. There were actual ebooks out there - manuals for the Facebook interface. But the company simplified things over time in response to widespread user angst.
Twitter on the other hand, kept things simple. It watched what people were doing and just made those things easier to do.
Which brings us to the present moment.
What do you think is the reason Twitter is hesitant to curb hateful nationalism and racist trolling? It's because it has noticed that is what people are using it for. It is because they look at their platform and see that its primary use case is propaganda.
What once used to be a social network became an information network. The question that you saw in an empty text box went from being "What are you doing?" to "What is happening?"
Twitter's problem is not that it is evil. It's problem is that it thinks it is giving people what they want. It's garden variety majoritarianism and "wisdom of the crowds" thinking.
Of course, crowds are not wise and markets are not neutral. They are both controlled by culture.
Dominant cultural influences can and do sway the fates of nations and civilisations. And seeing as how we all do live right now in a global civilisation full of virtual nations with overlapping boundaries, Twitter's inaction is pretty much just... action. Action favouring a certain kind of civilisation.
@vimoh birdsite is not the guardian of democracy but a platform that reflects the times we live in.its leanings mirror the trend the world is shifting to and as such provides an indicator of where we are.the question actually is whether the social media platforms have brought us to this situation or the world was already shifting towards this situation and social media is just a virtual representation of that trend.
@ullulullu The latter, I think. But seeing as how social media sites are not from another world, I think their actions are of the same variety as ours. It's just that their actions and inactions are likely to have more impact than ours.
@vimoh Haven't seen this apt analysis on the behaviour of Twitter. Can't be denied easily if one ponder over it.
@vimoh Thanks for that timeline of the ux progression of the birdsite. It is quite enlightening to look back at these platforms and see how they have evolved and what has influenced their direction. In many cases for the better and some for the worse.
@vimoh Have noticed that the bird feeds on the fear & hate emotional worm as it leads to increased stickiness... not likely to kill that worm anytime soon... it did say it wouldn't shut the trump down though his tweets were outright hate mongering, so why would it shut other regions either... Propaganda sells, it does unfortunately make the world go around...
@vimoh Birdsite's growth and sustenance is tied to user engagement. And nothing keeps people engaged when they are passionately angry about a cause. Keeping people perennially angry is good for the site. Right wing Politicians employ this all the time - their followers are always angry (Trump fans in US, Hindutuva in India, Seeman fans in TamilNadu).
@vimoh I am sure it took you a lot to analyse how Twitter has evolved. I think we all have a tint of our understandings and experiences of the past that comes along with us. For information isn't the problem, it is the obsession that's a problem. And also "should" is a big problem. Expectations somehow hinder exploration. These are purely my personal thoughts.
@dpreacher Oh they are listening. How can they not? But they will not act. And that's a purely numbers game.
@vimoh well i implied action too. :( it's good to see such detailed thread here after a long time since I made myself scarce on bird site
@vimoh I remember using the birdsite in 2009, how pleasurable it was, the brevity ofcourse but, also the sheer brilliance & creativity of some of the handles there left me dumbfounded after engaging with morons & bigots on the facesite that i considered 'friends', the better it got technically, helped people immensely sure but, lost its charm for me after the capitalist revamp. Hope Mastodon learns & fundamentally remains how it's, doesn't lose what makes it unique, fingers crossed!
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