You may have clicked through to this post for a variety of reasons. You want to find another reason to #RIPTwitter. I know I do. I don’t want Twitter to change. I like it the way it is. I don’t want to be nudged into what is interesting. I want to randomly find it.
The reality is, Twitter is a mess.
I like mess. You like mess. We are on Twitter because there is the vast possibility of an apple core under both of our beds.
Humans like organisation.
We are trained from a very young age to organise our thoughts. We are taught to put things in boxes from the moment we leave the womb.
But I thought that was school?
It is. But it is also in our homes and our playgrounds. We tell mothers not to “babytalk”. We have to make sure our children speak at appropriate milestones (or before if surrounded by competitive parents).
We correct our children. We make sure they use appropriate grammar. We organise their thoughts.
What we think. What we say. What we write.
Three very different things.
Parents teach their children to speak in lucid sentences. Teachers teach students how to write them.
Lets take an example.
You want a drink. What do you THINK? It might be I’m thirsty or I’m parched or I’m bored. What did you think? Did you pick one of mine? Well, I’m organising you already.
The fact of the matter is, organisation is really important for communication, otherwise we would all be looking at each other blankly.
So lets organise.
Toddler points and screams.
Mum: What do you want
Toddler: eeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaa [while jumping and pointing] theeeeerrrrrrsssssty!
Mum: use you manners
Mum: PLease, what?
Toddler: Pweese, Mummy
Mum: PLLLLease, Mummy, what?
You get the picture.
By the time children are learning to read and write, they are well on their way to using fully constructed verbal sentences ….(hopefully)…..: May I have a drink, please Mummy? [Mine isn’t there yet but I keep hoping, ie organising].
The written version of this request is differently organised again. A sentence requires an active voice. I turns to the girl turns to Samantha. Drink turns to juice or water. When you speak to someone, there are a whole lot of nuances going on that allow the interpretation to be made. The act of writing disembodies the context, so context needs to be written in.
So here is where I get back to Twitter.
Twitter, which held itself different for so long from all the ingrained desire to organise – a desire which starts with each person from birth – has capitulated.
It’s not that organisation is bad, in fact it can be life saving,
it’s just that organisation is so stifling of creative thinking.
Scaffolding can only take you so far. We are seeing this more and more in education research. Children’s creative thinking ability drops off the further they progress through school. Teaching narrow curriculum only works until everyone is up to speed and then plateaus because there is no room to move once the scaffolding has reached it’s capability.
Learning outside of school is messy. S0metimes we don’t have any idea why we do or think something. But we can’t stand not knowing so we organise to try and find it out. When a jumble of ideas flit by with no rhyme nor reason, our immediate, ingrained-at-birth reaction is to organise it. But learning also works in the mess. Here is an example of how my brain works:
I read sporadically and widely. Fiction, non-Fiction. Jokes, children’s books. Menus, cookbooks. Your stuff and my stuff. I do not stick to one idea for very long unless it’s a rollicking good yarn. I scroll through multiple tweets, blogs, Facebook posts that have no rhyme nor reason except I am connected to the people that share them. My brain is like a massive tangled ball of yarn.
Take this picture.
The yarn is criss-crossing at different places and itching to be untangled. Traditional learning methodologies would have us untangle each colour and understand each well before moving onto the next. This is well regarded reflective and reflexive learning. What do I know. What do I need to find out?
But I am more of a diffractive thinker. For example:
If the beginning of the blue yarn is my original thought line, each time the yarn crosses over another piece of yarn (let’s say pink), I get a new tangental idea, tie off the blue line for future use, and begin to follow the pink line. Sometimes it may seem I have abandoned the original blue thought, but at some moment, I meet the blue again and I follow the original thought again – but now I am carrying the baggage of the tangental pink line. I continue picking up and tying off black, yellow, red yarn – as much yarn as I stumble across on my journey. Sometimes I ignore and sometimes I embrace, but most importantly, I keep moving. At some point in the process, something clicks and I begin to try and unravel the yarn, but now all the colours are tied together where they met, creating a web or a net, rather than a straight line.
Chaotic and creative learning takes trust that an outcome will be achieved. Trust that Twitter has had for a very long time. Trust that is slowly being eroded because the CEOs are succumbing to the desire to organise. They want to be in the center of Sillicon Valley, not the fringe. I just hope someone reminds them all that, until very recently, venture capitalism was born from a massive tangle of different fringe ideas that challenged silo thinking and rejected the center. Without entangled thinking, we never would be able to take photos, listen to music, communicate online and make phone calls all on one device.
Please Twitter, don’t go hang with the cool kids!