Twitter in-f-l-A-T-I-o-n

What’s Twitter Inflation? It’s the basic idea that social media is similar to financial markets and that they both suffer from inflation. A couple years back, John Locke wrote an ebook on self-publishing in which he said a Tweeter needed about 300 followers to get his or her tweets retweeted. Well, that wasn’t my experience. My tweets really didn’t get retweeted until I hit around 1000 followers. And trust me, I’m not getting any more clever as time passes. 

And what’s Twitter Inflation headed toward? I mean, what’s the end game of all this social media madness? With Twitter, for example, will every person on the planet eventually have a Twitter account, connected to every other person? Does the influence of interconnectivity actually decrease as more and more people become more and more interconnected?

One thing I’ve been trying to get across but am also having trouble convincing people of is that social media is quantum and not linear. In other words, things happen in distinct jumps. A person with 800 followers may be having a distinctly different Twitter experience from someone with 1000. Social media is not a meritocracy. There’s far too much mathematics involved for that to be the case. A meritocracy is “fair,” it’s proportional or “linear.” In a meritocracy, the  more clever or useful your tweets, the better and bigger your response will be. But, I’m here to bring the bad news:  social media is not a meritocracy, it’s not fair or proportional and neither is life.

Ask a mathematician, “Hey mathematician, how many real-world systems are characterized by linear equations? A lot, right? Life is fair, right? Life is proportional? I put in this work and I get a commensurate reward, right?” That mathematician might very well laugh at that question.

It’s very tempting to think of the world as “fair” or “linear” or proportional because, as Richard Dawkins is famous for saying, most of our senses are linear: 1) Touch 2) Sound 3) Taste 4) Scent   

So what I’m really saying here is that striving toward success is really an inhuman endeavor. We’re hardwired against it. We’re hardwired to see the world in linear, proportional terms (i.e. I put in this work, the work is this much better than my competitors, I succeed in a manner proportional to my efforts) but the real “winners” figure out how to manipulate the systems in new ways and to explore new territories of extant and quality.

About davidwallacefleming

David Wallace Fleming is a U.S. writer, living in Austin, Texas. He is the author of the coming-of-age, social media novel GROWING UP WIRED, and the satirical science fiction audiobook, NOT FROM CONCENTRATE.
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4 Responses to Twitter in-f-l-A-T-I-o-n

  1. rubyblue32 says:

    This is why celebrities with no “real” qualities have huge Twitter followings. Because , really in a meritocracy who would care what shoes Kim Kardashian just bought? Not fair, or proportional, but it IS the reality of social media. Great post!

  2. Mason says:

    How true!!

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