For years I have studied twitter, focusing on the mapping of tweets and working to create mathematical models that identify intensity of tweets, association with other social media like Wikipedia and Yelp, and tracking users and patters of tweeting.
A few years ago it was fun and there seemed to be promise that this could provide a tool for sociological research and even greater free expression.
That promise is over. Twitter is dead.
To be more precise, the open nature of Twitter, the ease of creating accounts, the wide usage, poor management by staff, and the short length of posts has lead to it being gamed by the worst elements in our society. Twitter is now pretty much a scene of hatred, verbal violence, and disturbing fantasy.
In the bigger picture I have returned right to where I was when I spent years studying Second Life: the dark fantasy nature of people. These dark, anxious and often hateful fantasy side of people is very real, and one when goes online and assumes another identity one still brings all the issues and hatreds one has in life.
Personally not only am I not tracking tweets on this blog, its a waste of time. I am actively trying to quite twitter, not carrying a smart-phone. I have also quite Quora and Facebook. Essentially I use almost no social media and my goal, for my own personal health, is not to use any by the end of the year.
Its not that I have given up on the web, far from it. My day job is working with Office 365, Azure and AWS. I use email as my main contact with everyone, I use Drive to store all my documents since graduate school and I download all the movies, TV shows and music I consume. I use Google a great deal.
But I am returning to constructing my web usage around lines of more traditional consumption: replacing TV, phone, file store and dictionary. But I think we can say with pretty great assurance that the idea that social would work online is a failure.
That is to say Web 2.0 is a bust, a waste of time and people are coming around to see it as such. Without Web 2.0 my research into geo-social web activity becomes a waste of time, and like my Second Life blog and my Flickr blog, its time to end this one.