Saturday, September 6, 2014

In the Mind of a Mad God

Five years ago, I took the leap and engaged with Twitter.

You have to be on twitter, the cognoscenti said.  You've just got to.  So I was and I am.

But these years later, I often still find myself wondering why.  Twitter has proven...well...most of the time, it's really drab and tedious.   Part of that drabness comes from the limitations of the medium.  140 characters really isn't enough to articulate anything meaningful.  It's just not.

It's also a terrible place to develop meaningful relationships or engagement.  It's too mediated, too formalized, and too inhuman.  Most "tweets" are incoherent as a human language, a wild medley of #hashtags, compressed links, and @usernames.  They seem more like a simple neural programming language than a form of sentient discourse.

I'd also chosen to use it wrongly, to throw myself wildly and randomly into following thousands, just to see what that would feel like.   The result was wild and silo-shattering, sure.  But it also wasn't sane.  There was no coherence, and after a while, I encountered almost nothing that interested me as a sentient being.

I'd check my feed, there in the mess, and it was almost nothing.  There'd be incoherent fragments of conversation between people I barely knew.  There'd be references to in house conversations, endless circling and pointless rehashings of irrelevant information about the blahblah de jour, and people complaining about their day and complaining about other people.

It was joyless and empty, formulaic and selfish, devoid of vision or larger purpose.

It was draining, tedious, and pointless, and it always left me feeling more fragmented than connected.   The experience was too invariably schizophrenic, in the purest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual sense of the word.

Meaning, not "multiple personality," but a fragmented, barely cohesive persona.

Here we have a simulation of the human collective unconscious, and when I engaged with it, it was an encounter with something that was so shattered it hardly had an identity.  Chaos and paranoia, obsessive behaviors and word salads?

And it occurs to me: spending time on Twitter is like living in the mind of a mad robot god.