In a message exchange with my Facebook friend Kyle yesterday, Kyle and I contemplated the laws of Twitterland. I admitted that I think Twitter is a no-holds-barred endeavor; anything a person can fit into 140 characters goes.
Does Twitter have its own set of rules and/or conventions? Can Twitter be a venue where anything goes, or do people who ignore the conventions eventually fall out of place by losing followers and influence? Must you act a certain way on Twitter in order for people to pay attention to you? Or is acting differently more desirable somehow?
Recently, Kanye West joined Twitter. He does not reply to or retweet other users. Frankly, his Twitter feed looks like spam. His tweets are very unconventional, but people love them because A) he is Kanye West and B) quirky/controversial. If I started using Twitter the way Mr. West uses it, I’m pretty sure that I would lose followers quickly.
No one governs Twitter – it’s an anarchy of sorts. Twitter is mostly policed by the users themselves – I can block and report Twitter users as spam. Other people can block and report me. I’m not easily offended by questionable content and more angered by people who don’t engage with other users, instead posting link after link to suspicious websites.
I keep serious satisfaction out of blocking and reporting offending Twitter users, and I quickly unfollow anyone who I think is using Twitter incorrectly. Rarely do I unfollow someone because I disagree with that person. I just want to see everyone using the tool in a respectful, reasonable way.
Is this an anarchy? How is anarchy possible online? How do the influencers rise to the top? Why are people so committed to keeping the Internet a safe and happy place, and why are we so ready to rise to that challenge ourselves? How does our desire to keep certain conventions alive affect how we contribute to the digital information dump?
(Photo by <<graham>>)