I remember when I first signed up to use Twitter: it was in the summer of 2006, after a colleague shot me an email with a Twitter landing page URL – and he was for some reason excited about this new “micro-blogging platform,” as he called it.
I do remember this wording – even if I don’t remember if membership on Twitter was invite-only – like joining Gmail and Facebook had been at the time.
But it was certainly a curiosity – even for the likes of us, the tech-minded and tech-curious journalist folk who didn’t mind playing the early adopter to just about anything, every single time.
But I did sign up then – and now, having gleefully dated myself – let’s go back to 2019 – almost 15 years later – and what is Twitter today? What benefits does it offer to its users? And what are the ills of the platform?
Since 2006, I’ve often found Twitter to be seriously eroding my time – and would therefore leave it, on several occasions – but this social media actually “eroding my intelligence” – no – I don’t think we’ll ever blame Twitter for that particular thing.
But now, a paper out the Milan, Italy-based Catholic University – in particular, its economics and finance department – seems to have discovered that Twitter “not only fails to enhance intellectual attainment but substantially undermines it.”
Let’s leave aside the fact this social media platform was never actually designed to “enhance” anyone’s intellectual attainment – it came to be as a way to bring together friends in the night who could barely muster words in 140 characters or less to describe their current state of mind.
But today, Singapore’s Straits Times report – quoting the Washington Post – doesn’t really clarify if by “Twitter” the study means – “using it,” “abusing it,” or indeed, “investing time in it.”
But it’s important to note that the report frames Twitter as that social platform being guilty of acting as “a tool of misinformation and hate” that now must “reform itself.”
And that message – heard repeatedly over the past months, if not years – might just be the gist and the purpose of the entire article.