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.

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news

Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?

  • "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
  • The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
  • Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
Keep reading Show less