We all love The Onion, primarily because they can take a sad situation that could possibly be real and expand on it. To say The Onion’s latest piece hit close to home speaks volumes about my expectations about how Twitter works, or rather, probably doesn’t work.
In the video below, a beleaguered Twitter user who obeys all of the tropes of the service somehow winds up with no more than fifteen followers. I’ve written before on the struggles of finding the true signal in Twitter’s noise, something that’s become harder as the service has expanded. I regularly participate on Twitter these days, but only because I have an obligation to listen to the universe now at all times.
A few days ago, The Verge’s Chris Ziegler pointed out a 1995 New York Times article on Prodigy’s then-new web page creation tools that presented a similarly optimistic point of view. The whole article is golden, but this particular snippet resonated with me (emphasis mine):
The Web, as it is known, is emerging as the most popular segment of the global Internet, especially for computer-based commerce and electronic publishing. In cyberspace, a home page is the equivalent of a storefront or front door and can include text, pictures and sound, plus dynamic links to other home pages and electronic mail systems.
By creating a personal home page, anyone can publish material that potentially can be read by millions of people worldwide.
It’s nice to dream, right?