Some of us had a conversation on Twitter last night reminiscing about 2008 and how we used to have lots of purely social banter on the platform. The feeling was that a lot of this has been lost in the intervening 5 years. After a while, the hashtag #retrohour was appended to the discussion, so you can see some of the tweets here.
One of the conclusions about how things have changed was that people have “stuck their necks out and had them chopped off”. We talked about a number of cases where people have lost their jobs, or been threatened with such, for injudicious tweets. I won’t repeat any of them here as that might just give these incidents more exposure. This has led to people being more guarded on Twitter and to the platform being a more serious place to be. And, at one point, a spammer joined in the conversation, which kind of proved the point about another way in which Twitter has changed.
So, what have we lost? In the early days of Twitter it did seem there was a lot more excitement, and a lot more playfulness. Its growth has rubbed a lot of that out. As I said in my session at the Learnpod13 event last week, I remain convinced that playfulness is the best way for anybody to learn, whatever their age. So, that means we must have lost something. Personally I think that the discovery of Twitter by the mainstream media did a lot to eliminate much of the playfulness as it meant that any tweet could be picked up, quoted out of context, and be used to make the author’s life a misery in unexpected ways.
Do you agree that we have lost a lot of Twitter’s playfulness, and is this a bad thing? Is there anything we can do about it?