Monday, July 06, 2009

Understanding The Psychology of Twitter

Highlights and brief reflection from this article via MichealDoneman

"The tribal context of life was subverted during the Industrial Revolution, when the extended family was torn apart in order to move laborers into the cities. But a deep evolutionary need for community continues to express itself.....the twitterverse. This is why people feel so compelled to tweet, to facebook or even to check their email incessantly. We crave connection."

How has, and how will, digital media continue to shape, change, morph social capital world? How will economic and institutional structure adapt to a world that can create its own communites, regardless of time/distance/location and people? We are only witness the very beginnings of this trend, but what happens when it becomes ubiqutious, or even if it will?

I believe that this phenomena of micro-celebrity is driven by existential anxiety. I twitter, therefore I am. I matter. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggoneit, people like me!

Mixed feelings on this one.

Which leads me to return to the remaining highest level in the Maslovian hierarchy of needs - how people might use Twitter to self-actualize. Currently, there are over 200 marketing guru's teaching about how to use Twitter as a marketing channel. How far behind could the spiritual guru's be? The spiritually ubiquitous Deepak Chopra has a twitter channel. So does the motivational guru Tony Robbins. Existential psychology theory explains that the core tendency of the self-actualizing person is to achieve authentic being. Can Twitter possibly aid in achieving authentic being, or is it fundamentally "mitwelt" - reinforcing the social and interpersonal aspects of life, and thus a distraction from "eigenwelt" - where the treasure of the self is hidden? What would Rollo May do? What would Heidegger say?

Perhaps this explains my third accounts - am I really aligning my authentic self when they are compartalised? Is that fake? Or am I giving a chance for both those sides - the intelligent and ideas driven Eddie vs the deepthinking, honest Eddie (max edwards)

These last few paragraphs were all awesome - so I included them all.

Ask yourself, when you twitter, are you tweeting like a caged bird or exclaiming your passion and enjoying the spaciality of existence? Medard Boss, a Swiss psychiatrist who developed daseinsanalysis and who coined the term, wrote, "Openness constitutes the true nature of spatiality in the human world. I am more open to my distant friend and he is clearer to me than my neighbor is." Isn't that exactly what the openness of the Internet enables - making distant friends clearer than the neighbor next door?

Perhaps the key distinction lies in whether you are truly enjoying humanity's meta-haiku, or is the motivation to twitter actually a fear of being alone? Kierkegaard once said that true heroism is "daring to be entirely oneself, alone before God." Is Twitter actually powered by a global case of monophobia?

Perhaps a more enlightened way to look at it is that you aren't adding to the spam or garbage-in-garbage-out overload, you're really just enjoying a cyber-zen moment of mindfulness to be present and tweet thyself. We're all interconnected now - each of us acting like a single neuron in humanity's brain, firing bits of electricity at one another, slowly coadunating and collectively struggling toward a great awakening. That awakening could turn out to be the next stage in our evolution, and a single tweet the butterfly's wings that eventually leads to a big bang of global meta-consciousness.

To me, the twitterverse is like a river of human awareness, composed of billions of tiny 140 character molecules - each a snapshot of life or a thought or a reflection. A river of pure information that equals energy, according to the laws of quantum thermodynamics and stochastic processes. A river of life flowing by us as we meditate at its bank like some Siddhartha wannabe, in tattered jeans and Oakley sunglasses instead of orchid robes and begging bowl. And now, after long last, we see.

We see the beauty of the river, that some now call ambient awareness.

We reach in and touch the water of human consciousness.

Little eddies form - those are called tweetclouds.

We can be one with the river.

Or not.

It's all good.