What If Twitter Had A Magical Promise?
Here’s how Twitter could magically reinvent itself.
“ Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”
-Arthur C. Clarke
I think this quote touches on a core underlying feature of the most successful digital products today. They are magical. They make, and fulfill promises that only a few years ago would have sounded laughable. A phone+ all my media in my pocket. A personal media channel for me and all of my friends. A cab at the push of a button. All the world’s empty rooms as my hotel. Obviously we can go on. But I believe that it is the promise and the magical fulfillment of that promise that makes for a truly great product. It just does what it says it does. The question becomes then, Twitter, what is your Magical Promise? Features are not what magical products are made of. The magical fulfillment of a magical promise does. I would like to to sketch out a potential magical promise that Twitter could hypothetically fulfill and what, if built, the magical fulfillment of that promise would look like.
As humans we tend to think of our social world rather simplistically. Us Vs. Them. We have our in group the rest of the world. When we consciously think about it we know that this binary distinction is a little too simplistic. Our in group is fluid, people enter and leave our lives in a constant flow. And those who are currently in our out group will perhaps, through fate and serendipity, come into our lives and greatly enhance it. But I want to talk about a third group. An abstract group that we simultaneously belong and do not belong to. Lets imagine for a moment the group of all people that are like us. Perhaps they are like us in a simple, one dimensional way. Using myself as an example, I can imagine the group of all males in the world. I do not know them but I can relate to and identify with all of them, albeit in a rather simplistic way. But lets continue this thought experiment. Lets imagine all the people in the world that have, like me, read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and have been strongly influenced by it. I feel a stronger sense affinity with this group as this book and its influence is a larger part of my internal story of who I am . Of course there are many more aspects to who I am. Some of these aspects will fall away as I continue to evolve and new ones will take its place. But what if there was a digital platform where I was immediately able to interact with all the people like me in all its messy multi-dimensional aspects . What if I didn’t have to discover and then follow the people I share a sense of identity with? What if I didn’t have to rely on the serendipity required to bump into someone ( in the physical or digital plane ) who is my particular brand of weirdo. What if instead of having to find my tribe or tribes I was magically and instantly connected to all of them. That, if I may say so, is a magical promise.
As the internet and the digital era continue to evolve us humans need a new kind of space. A space to interact with our tribe. Imagine what it would feel like to be able to walk into a digital room for the first time and instantly have affinity and a sense of belonging to all those in it . Imagine belonging to a church not just for those of the same religion as you but one space to interact with all the different tribes that you belong to . If such a platform existed, as if my magic I would feel a part of a digital nation of people which I would identify with much more strongly than with the one am geographically a part of. And that would be a magical fulfillment of that magical promise.
So Twitter, what do you think? How bout it? Don’t make me find and follow accounts ,connect me to everyone like me. If you build this platform that brings us all together in our multidimensional beauty not only can you make a lot of profit from being able to deliver the perfect message to the perfect segment but you will also have the opportunity to enable billions of people to find their tribe. I cannot fathom what the ripple effect of that might be. When the power to unite and group together is literally instantaneous. A shiver runs down my back as I think about how easy it would become to take down abusive governments, at how easy it would be to coordinate and organize around humanitarian help. How easy it would be for neighbors to rally together for doing important work. From a more egocentric perspective Imagine if this essay can be instantly shared with all the others in the world that share my strong interests in creating meaningful technology+writing+software+ I can have an instant perfect audience. The idea of having a ready made audience is powerful and attractive. You would be the stream of consciousness of humanity as they talk to not just the people they know already but the tribe(s) they belong to. Growth of this network would evolve positively as word spread about the magical promise: Instantly and constantly belong to and interact with your tribe(s).
It would be an honor and a pleasure to seriously discuss this with anyone interested.