Survival of the Loudest
Survival of the fittest? What happens when you take that concept and apply it toward Information? Survival of the smartest? I wish.
We’re all trying to be followed.
Followers: we’ll pay for them, retweet for them, sell our creative souls for their attention. And yet, after a few good weeks of @ing and beautiful memories together, they’re gone. Just like that. And you’re left alone, wondering whether they “like” liked that tweet, or whether it was just a tactical bid for self-promotion. Do people still care about anything beyond the numbers game?
It took me a long time to fully understand Twitter, and why everyone was suddenly on it. There’s the obvious answer–it’s a digital pedestal for the masses to voice their opinions (but then again, we could all hang off a rooftop and spray-paint our thoughts about the “LOST” finale on brick walls and still get the same amount of attention)—but this is only a fraction of Twitter’s impact.
When you fully identify Twitter’s strengths and comprehend the reach it has in our universe, you realize that Twitter is probably the most powerful tool the human race has in reaching its coveted immortality. Consider this: as of mid-2016, Twitter had 313 million monthly users. Not only are those users’ thoughts being broadcast to anyone who wants to see, but they’re also recorded, analyzed, documented, and filed away under our permanent records. Should this frighten you? Maybe.
Is it so far beyond reach that it doesn’t matter what you think? Yes. What you should be worried about is not the audience listening, but what you’re saying. Because what you are saying will eventually be what’s left to remember you by. You all know Darwin’s famous “Survival of the Fittest”? What happens when you take that concept and apply it toward information? Survival of the smartest? I wish. More like survival of the loudest.
There are still six billion people who aren’t on Twitter. That means six billion people are digitally voiceless, which means when the singularity comes and we’ve got A.I. asking us why we sleep, they’ll learn the answers only from the angsty millennial voices they’ve been able to record, analyze, and find filed away under our permanent records. They will have no understanding of the values Family, Honor, and Taciturnity have among the billions of people with better things to do in their lives than tweet. They won’t understand how much louder an individual can be by not speaking; that most of the time the right answer doesn’t need an argument.
So here we are trying to gather a mass of followers to preach to. Doing what we can to have people clicking on our links and liking our posts. Which ultimately comes down to belittling ourselves to images of half-naked women for no cause, or near death moments with no morale; using click-bait to bring together a small society of dishonorable fiends who will find themselves bored once you finally have something interesting to say and then SNAP! They’re gone again.
So how do we fix this?
Well, for one, we don’t post things with the intention of getting more clicks. Granted, you want a bigger audience, but you don’t want an audience of gawkers. Twitter needs to be treated like a Holiday dinner with the family. Would you talk about the latest C-String epidemic with your Mom and Uncle? Would you laugh about the teenager getting his face kicked in with your little nephew and his 3 year old sister? Because that’s who’s listening.
Why don’t we start using Twitter to voice something real? Start tweeting not about how you think, but about how you feel. Maybe we can utilize the hashtag #Ifeel. Instead of voicing your opinion (which may be biased, ill informed, or purposefully ridiculous) you can voice your emotional response (which is truly honest). We can get back to what really drives our lives forward – hearts over mind. We can all begin to tap into what makes fiction so powerful and writers so lonely – the ability to express ourselves when no one is listening. When our feared A.I. awakens in consciousness it’ll have more than morality issues to consider when faced with Caitlyn Jenner’s existence. It’ll have our true response: #Ifeel fear, admiration, trepidation, love.
By Danny Bellini