Unheard voices

How wide should an open mind be?

I’ve been contributing to and observing conversations, following and un-following people, reading, skipping, ignoring, and eagerly anticipating information on Twitter for close to a year now. Lately I’ve been following and paying attention to the tweets of journalists, both Canadian and international. My rationale is that since I rarely have the time to read a daily paper, even online, receiving and reading articles in tweeted links might compensate somehow.  Generally, I believe it’s working.  In fact, I feel because I follow a cross-range of writers of all political persuasion across the world, I’m actually better informed than I used to be.  Hallelujah, social media!

I’ve been intrigued though by numbers that I notice.  When I say numbers, I mean actual numbers.  When I see an interesting re-tweeted tweet that ends up in my stream I will click on the person’s profile to see what else they may have tweeted.  I’m looking for signs of originality, of thoughts that are interesting and different and give me pause.  There is too much noise in the world to add even more voluntarily so I am quite judicious about who I follow.  However, when I look at the numbers of people some of these individuals follow and compare that to the number following them, it’s invariably off by a factor of at least 10.  Sometimes the factor is in the hundreds of thousands.  I’ll provide an example.  A former mayor of the city of Toronto has over 27,000 followers but follows only 245 people. Discounting all the garbage bots and lunatic followers all Twitter users have to tolerate, that should still leave him with say, 25,000 legitimate followers. Doesn’t he feel the least bit interested in connecting with people who find him interesting?  I know, I know, he’s a busy guy, blah, blah, blah.  (by the way, I don’t follow him)

I find it fascinating that people are so one-directional when it comes to social media.  It would appear they see social media simply as a microphone instead of the chaotic and democratic meeting room it is meant to be.  I think people are missing the opportunity to truly expose themselves to alternative points of view.  Wouldn’t the simple act of making the effort to connect to more people and hear what they have to say improve the chances of making the world a better and more peaceful place?

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

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