Twitphilia & Twitanoia: Controlling Technology

An in-depth analysis of Twitter from a radical perspective.

Nihilo Zero: I created a Twitter account during the planning phase of the protest surrounding the 2008 Republican Nation Convention. I had heard about it’s text-to-phone cababilities and thought it might be useful to help organize the protesters and provide them with up-to-the-minute logistics while they were in the streets. This still seems like a potentially viable use of the system (capable of bringing flashmobs to a whole new level), but I had neither the time nor the technical understanding before the protest to make a serious push in this direction. I simply posted a prescient “tee hee” tweet and abandoned the endeavor.

Since then I have learned more about Twitter.com and I have revived my account in an effort to increase my web presence and spur discussion about radical politics. I continue to network with other radicals and enjoy sharing and spreading useful and interesting information.

Twitter from a revolutionary perspective…

A problem I see with this, particularly as a radical political activist, is that there still exists the very real possibility (in the conceivable future) of a very totalitarian and fascistic crackdown on revolutionary organizing and dissent. Twitter is not wholly responsible for this, of course, but it is a part of the larger technical communication apparatus which evermore seems to be recording all publicly expressed opinions and the networks of friends who may share those opinions. With this in mind, I wonder if radicals are exposing themselves too carelessly and I wonder if their use of computerized mass communication systems actually serves the greater good in the long run.

Many of the people who use Twitter probably don’t care one wit about the greater good — some may not care about anything, even themselves. But even amongst those people who do care about their fellow beings, and the global environment, etc., a question remains … Are they imbibed with a true understanding of the world’s problems and do they have the focused skills to do anything about them?

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