Monday, May 28, 2012

Twitter & The Time Machine Paradigm

As I finally managed to use the word "paradigm" in a post title, I'm sure it will be read by millions of highly intelligent people so I'm really really going to be very cautious with what comes next.

The advent of social networks and the multiplication of tweets, facebook posts, instagram pictures, tumblr entries etc. have dramatically changed the nature of the Internet by speeding up its evolution and relevance.

I tweet, you tweet, we all tweet. We leave digital artifacts of our lives at any moment and from anywhere. This, in turn, lets us interact with other people though we may never meet them in real life (IRL). There is no doubt, in my mind, that this has a profound impact on the way we relate to the world and one another.

Have you ever realized that Twitter & social networks in general constitute time machines? What better way will future digital archeologists have in order to understand the past than to go back in time by exploring its tweets? How intriguing can it be to just go back to the twitter timeline at the time of a historic event so as to cease the thoughts of the many?

Think of this in terms of "what if Napoleon had had a Twitter account?"

This also leads to the question of what will happen to our digital selves once we are no more of this world. Should our tweets continue to exist on the "timeline" until the end of (digital) time or should they be erased or perhaps saved? I can only be in favor of letting our tweets continue to exist in the timeline though it may come in the way of the process of grief.

How will we overcome the death of our loved ones when we can go through their entire timeline through their tweets and posts at anytime and from anywhere? Should future tombstones include twitter handles? What better way to honor and remember the dead than to read one of their tweets while paying them a visit at the cemetery?

Twitter is  a fantastic tool that many struggle to harness thinking about the present and its immediate impact on the future. As history writes itself on the Twitter timeline, we will all learn that the true power of Twitter may actually lie in the past.


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