The social networking service has the power to control the expression of public opinion in political debate
The news that Twitter has taken the first steps towards a stock marketflotation has triggered a predictable storm of speculation about the valuation of the company. How much is a corporation with 200 million monthly users actually worth? How does it compare with Facebook, with its billion users?
The answer is: nobody knows. But that doesn’t matter because it’s not the important question. Although Twitter and Facebook are categorised as social networking services, in fact they are as different as chalk and cheese. And, of the two, Twitter is more important in one respect: its impact on the arena in which societies discuss their political issues.
Phi Beta Iota: Not so fast, Cantinflas! Twitter is stupid….Kum Ba Ya on steroids, which is to say, lots and lots of people holding each others hands digitally, but all largely unintelligent in the decision-support sense of the word. Yes, Twitter has the ability to harness collective intelligence, but when that collective intelligence is drugged up, dumbed down, clueless on true cost economics, and largely devoid of ethical holistic understanding of systems dynamics, cause and effect, and so forth, Twitter has to be considered the equivalent of a billion drunk teen-agers all trying to drive the same car via a shared joy-stick. Without an honest Wikipedia and an honest Google (just to be explicit, both corrupt to the bone), Twitter is noise.