Twitter as an organism

I’ve started seeing Twitter as  a digital destination, and at the extreme… a living organism!


Maybe its the way it breathes with life, ebs and flows with trends, grows and shifts with popularity. Surely I can’t be the only one to notice that this thing has a very natural feel to it?

Humans mimmick each other, we influence the people we surround ourselves with, and from that, ‘life’ becomes more stimulating – conversations flow faster, we bounce off of each others gestures, we pull closer when things are good and move away when things feel bad. If we are away from people for long periods of time, well – no surprise – time continues and when we return, things have changed and they have grown.

This is all normal behaviour.

But exactly the same happens within Twitter as well. If we are away from it for too long, we miss things, and need to catch up and back track through links and rewind conversations to figure out pieces of conversation, people leave and join, and get misunderstood and apologise and when we find good new or old people, we gravitate towards them. That place operates exactly as if it were a real location we could drive to.

As a place of gathering full of people, you can get lost in it, and definitely lose track of time, meet new people, gain new experiences and get a suntan (ok not that last bit) … but, it can feel like a real ‘place’… like we should be able to find it on Google maps or something.

The reason Twitter is so full of life, is because the organisms inside it are alive too. We, human beings are like the red blood cells… swimming about flooding its veins, animating and gesticulating every area within it. Without us, it would not have life – it would be a dead place to visit. Collectively we are all giving it an apparent intelligence – it is as if ‘we’ are the electrical neurological connections within a brain, stimulating it to learn.

With our input, Twitter is building a new language, which isn’t surprising because we are restricted to 140 characters and need to develop a shorthand language and natural etiquette to achieve that… but the most surprising thing is Twitter is also producing new organisms within itself.

I’ll give you an example.

Has anyone seen or joined @wefollow? Well its not a person, but an entity that has been released into Twitter, by its creators. Now its out there (or ‘in there’) doing its thing, spreading and multiplying and distributing itself in a viral way – its become one of those really bouncy balls in a box, feeding off the energy we give it to keep moving, and its not going to stop… as long as Twitter exists and as long as the wefollow website exists, it will continue bouncing about. As I’m aware, its the only thing that got enough human energy behind it, to fuel its motion indefinitely.

@followfriday is a similar entity, but I’m not making comparisons, for reasons still to follow.

Hope you’re still with me.

@wefollow has maxed, it’s fixed in size and cannot grow any further, it is an ‘adult’ – fully formed. This thing isn’t like a chain letter that grows and grows, until it struggles to move about under its own bloating weight. Its lean, and its only purpose is to stay inside Twitter, feeding its purpose, which is to fuel the website outside of Twitter: Much like a heart of an organism?

This little thing is smart, or rather the people that set this thing loose inside of Twitter are smart. I’m wondering if they realised what they were doing? To what extent did they consider this ‘thing’ was going to operate? Most people drop links inside Twitter and ‘hope’ that someone will love it enough to retweet and keep it bouncing about, but this @wefollow thing with lifeblood 3 hashes is all it needs. Its sourcing and feeding its heart… and its feeding on us – our desire to be part of it.

There’s more.

This thing is going to remain inside of Twitter forever. To many of us, it will appear like a little fragment of spam we can’t get away from – but unlike spam, we will be happy to co-exist in this ‘twitter space’ with it, as it will serve as a constant reminder of our attachment to its ‘heart’ (the website) … meaning we, unless we cease to be active within Twitter, will continually for the rest of our tweeting days, return the ‘heart’ and update our #hashes to reflect our position in the real world.

So this is viral entity is behaving like an infection. A skin condition we can happily live with, like a friendly life form which attaches itself to humans that we can neither get rid of, do us harm, nor live without.

As long as people ‘want’ to register their status on the wefollow website, and as long as people want to update their status and Twitter receives a continual stream of fresh newbies to feed off of – its going to continue, and I don’t believe that its going to be the only one.

Yes, there’s going to be a Twitter plague… and we’ll need a cure, for this ‘infection’.

As more and more companies realise the power of twitter, and repeat this process of dropping a new piece of tweet-lingo into the system (or ‘host’), then we’ll need a tool to filter these things and their connecting websites out of Twitter.

I understand if you disagree with me when I say that ‘Twitter is creating…’ when you may think that individuals inside or outside of Twitter are actually creating these things… but I’d challenge that. It takes humanity to keep this thing operating, and it can’t work effectively with just a few – it needs and has millions of users. These users (us), give this thing life. Just like how in the brain, 1 electrical connection is useless, but billions of them operating within it, creates ‘life’. Otherwise, we’d just have a lump of dead mush jelly in our brain caps.

So tweet away my friends, and next time you come across the @wefollow entity, say hello, because you’re going to be friends with it for a very long time indeed.




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