We announce the one TRILLION followers contest! You know, trillion is the new billion! With all the daily bailouts who cares whether some news network that once declared the “war on terror” or an actor most people haven’t heard of before have one million followers on Twitter? I mean 1 million? One tiny million? In India we have 700 million people voting right now. So who does really care about a minuscule million of Twitter followers?
Certainly those million followers care you might argue. I argue: The million followers do not care for those whom they follow.
You probably know by now that the Web is no newspaper or radio do you? So maybe you can also imagine that Twitter isn’t neither of both. When radio came out and got popular in the thirties of last century broadcasting was all the rage! Yeah, 80 years ago when our grand grand parents were kids broadcasting made also big celebrities, Hitler for instance became one of the most prominent.
Now fast forward to 2009: Twitter is all the rage! And it indeed fulfills the idea of one utopian thinkers of the radio age: Bertolt Brecht. Bertolt Brecht imagined a radio where people can talk back. In a way he foresaw both the Web and Twitter. Twitter is the final fulfillment of Brecht’s radio dream:
“change this apparatus over from distribution to communication. The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life, a vast network of pipes. That is to say, it would be if it knew how to receive as well as transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear, how to bring him into a relationship instead of isolating him.”
So instead of broadcasting Brecht wanted radio to be a one to one, one to many and many to many communication channel. He disliked the top down nature of broadcasting that later secured Hitler’s grip on power.
Now don’t tell me I compare a news network and a second rate actor to Hitler. I just used two examples from Germany where I live, in a way two celebrities, one negative (Hitler) and one positive (Brecht). Would you follow Hitler on Twitter? Or Brecht? I wouldn’t follow neither one. Twitter is not broadcasting, it’s “narrowcasting”, it’s communication, it’s sharing, it’s replying and talking. Twitter is not being talked at. It’s not listening with a million others to someone or indeed something that won’t really be able to notice you.
Do not try to turn back time to 1930. Do not use Twitter like it was a radio. Do not treat Twitter celebrities like the people in Germany treated Hitler before the war. Listen and talk to people who you know and trust.
What about the one TRILLION followers contest? Well, we changed our minds. We prefer the few we have as long they trust us and talk back. Come back next Friday.