|The idea of following in the age of twitter|
Users follow topics believing it expresses them somehow, but do they even understand what influences their preferences?
Last Modified: 20 May 2012 07:05 ck
Do Twitter users really understand why they follow the topics they do? Do those preferences come from their personality or are their preferences and personalities defined by what is trending and popular? [GALLO/GETTY]
|Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain - Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot has become a perfect allegory for today's globalised world. Always on our guard, we expect something exceptional to happen at any time of day or night, and the absurd fascination with this shapeless possibility binds us to social networks with all the force of affective attachment Freud termed "cathexis". We intuitively know that the event will arrive by email, in a text message or in a tweet, each of them potentially unheard-of, life-changing, radically new.|
More often than not, however, what does arrive is a weekly ten per cent discount from a trendy clothes store or a status update on how utterly bored your friend is. Contemporary communication technologies have much more to do with pure possibilities than with what they actually convey, which is why the gap between what is and what could be communicated fails to shock us. And, because we receive even the least significant messages in a heightened state of expectation, it is difficult to ignore them entirely. Instead, they leave a powerful imprint directly on our unconscious, by now brimming with digital debris and shadowy remainders of hi-tech part objects.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
The idea of following in the age of twitter - Opinion - Al Jazeera English