How Twitter Became the Ultimate Mindcasting Instrument

Love it or hate it, broadcasting the minutiae of one's life on Twitter has become the serial writing skill du jour. But, as the LA Times blogs, the medium is maturing. It's not all tweets about breakfast and bowel movements anymore.


“Could a service that seemed to be designed specifically to provide its users with incessant interruptions, empty of almost any meaning or importance, really succeed?” This was Time's question last week from a columnist desperately trying to wean himself off the micro-blogging service. The detraction is certainly justifiable depending on how much you value privacy. Tweets come in incessantly, amounting to an average of 900,000 tweets per day. A twitterer's community may be tweeting about anything from their mother's health to nuclear arms in North Korea. In short, Twitter can look like little more than the ill-considered effluvia from a culture's synaptic flood.

But Jay Rosen, Big Think guest and professor of journalism at New York University says something far more significant than lifecasting is afoot on Twitter. Rosen sees the digital proof of the existence of communities that would likely never meet offline. On Twitter, he is able to have multi-directional conversations, albeit of 120 characters or less, that would be highly difficult to orchestrate offline. This is the mindcasting, a "meeting" of like-minded individuals who can dialogue and share information in a radically new format.

Critics still cry afoul that Twitter highlights the self-interest of a bored, solipsistic, hypertechnological society. There's certainly a lot of distance between the rampant narcissim charge and the praise that Twitter is the crowning achievement in social networking. The truth is likely somehwere in the middle.

As we sort out the final verdict, please follow Big Think on Twitter and less us know what you think of mindcasting with a well-crafted tweet.

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