Twitter: Where the Commercial and Personal Clash

For something seemingly so simple, a neat description of it is not-so-easily forthcoming.

A. Khaled

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There’s something distinct about the experience of using Twitter that renders human beings completely unrecognizable when contrasted against their meatspace selves. It’s been already established that social media warps the way we present ourselves online because it optimizes for engagement, but Twitter in particular filters our every thought and emotion in a way that I can only describe as eerily familiar, yet unorthodox all-the-same. The platform is one people join to keep up with their favorite personalities, but left to bask in its weirdness for too long, they’ll become their own generators of self-referential, post-modernist, absurdist humor peppered with a few dashes of sincerity every now and then–if none of what I just said doesn’t make sense, you’ll be relieved to know that neither does Twitter.

It’s impossible to succinctly put into words what it is that happens on Twitter — or at least the parts most-representative of its unique aesthetic — but a good way of conceptualizing it is to think of a diary erstwhile kept private because it was assumed that there was no value in sharing its contents, then upon discovery of the opposite, every errant thought eventually finds its escape. Often Twitter is presumed to have changed the manner in which we manifest ideas and thoughts, but the more I use it, I realize it may be the purest distillation of human complexity, refracted through the prism of our social, economic and political realities as they currently stand.

Chief among those realities has recently been the collective swallowing of the political blackpill, a belief characterized by the loss of hope in a brighter future as neoliberal forces continue to hold firm in the face of great wealth inequality and impending climate catastrophe. When the fate of the world becomes no longer of concern, its outward expression turns into distinct nihilism. It’s why young people have taken such a liking to absurdist humor–the tone of the comedy perfectly matches their generational mood, and if they’re to face an ecological collapse so imminent, they might as well do so with a smile as troubled and stiff as that of the Joker.

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A. Khaled

Internet culture scribe with an interest in the digital economy, content creators, media and politics.