Twitter, Technology & Control

We need a reality check

As Twitter undergoes a transition in majority ownership against a backdrop of public derision, anxieties over privatised corporate control over digital media and its implications on free speech have reached a crescendo. But if one is to unpack these concerns systematically, it becomes increasingly obvious that ‘control’ is perhaps too simplistic a word to capture what is a consistently shifting power dynamic between organisations, institutions and ordinary folk.

It is generally accepted that nestled behind all communication platforms, are human ideas, decisions and legislations guiding its operation, steering the ship away from choppy waters. From company board members to end-users, the entire medium thrives on human enterprise. But therein lies an inevitable paradox. Despite the granular levels of control and grandiose visions, there is a level of primitive unpredictability to how all media narratives/ideas flow.

For a start, there is no single predictor to how a news piece earns cultural relevance and social currency to impact tangible change. Some news stories flourish and gain virality while others flounder in an abyss of disinterest.

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