Moses Ma, a partner at Next Generation Ventures, writing in Psychology Today says Twitter “acts to fill a deep psychological need in our society.”
…we are a culture starved for real community. For hundreds of thousands of years, human beings have resided in tribes of about 30-70 people. Our brains are wired to operate within the social context of community – programming both crucial and ancient for human survival.
Twitter aims primarily at social needs, like those for belonging, love, and affection. Clearly, feeling connected to people via Twitter helps to fulfill some of this need to belong and feel cared about.
Really? What is it that I, an avid Tweeter, belong to? Twitter’s too big and too public to be a tribe. And what leads me to believe that anyone cares about me or what I’m posting there? The only signs are @replies and direct messages (DMs) and that’s not much to go on.
I determined years ago that blogging was a form of note taking. Notes for what, is still an open question. At any rate, Twitter, more so than a blog like this, is clearly a place for interactive note taking, a form which benefits from the addition of hyperlink references.
Ma also looks at the dark side of Twitter.
…there is a remarkable loss of focus and presence that comes with the information overload that multi-tasking brings. Twitter is like digital crack that invariably turns you into a tweetker – no matter how much of it you get, you’ll never be satisfied.
No. For the most part, I’m satisfied by what I give Twitter and what I take from it. It’s a great big river of always-on information, a stream of consciousness heretofore unknown. One can dip in at any time and enjoy a few splashes of proverbial water on the face.
There’s little doubt that one can also become waterlogged via repeated overexposure. The same can be said for just about anything–red meat, talk radio, sports, a favorite band, you name it.
Twitter is in no way a replacement for real community in one’s life. Nor is any type of social media, including Facebook. It doesn’t satisfy primal needs for love and attention, it’s just a way to hear from more people than ever before and, for some, it’s a way to reach more people than ever before.