Twitter Is Telepathy

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ProfessorX.jpgI had a thought today.

Twitter is Telepathy.

Or at least, a major precursor to it.

As we interact with Instant Messages, [Google] Readers, RSS Feeds, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and extreme multitasking, we are literally rewiring our brains to accommodate not just a constant stream of information being uploaded into us, but multiple streams of thought as well. Twitter is just the latest facilitator of our rapidly skyrocketing information upload rate...


In high school, I could casually type 80 wpm, there were 10 or more IM screens open at once, chatrooms, IRC and more. That was only the beginning of the information stream.

When I started using Twitter, I followed 35 people and I thought that was a lot. I now follow 145 people and during North American working hours, my feed updates every couple of minutes. I check it constantly at work, at home and in class. The only time I really stop is when I sleep. Over time, I'll follow more people because honestly, sometimes I'm annoyed if someone doesn't update after five minutes.

Telepathy, Eh?

Spock.jpgAccording to the wiki, "Telepathy (Greek τηλε, tele meaning "distant" and πάθεια, patheia meaning "to be affected by") is supposed to be the transfer of information on thoughts or feelings between individuals by means other than the five senses."

Most people just consider telepathy instant mind-to-mind communication.

We're getting pretty close to it. You think something, you tweet it and instantly, all of your followers can read it and respond to it. No longer is this just a conversation with you and the 4-5 people you regularly chat with, this is you conversing with everyone. About anything.

You can check any person's feed (if it's not private or "well shielded"), rifle through their "thoughts" (previous tweets) and learn a lot about them. Or you can hear the "thoughts" of the entire world by searching Twitter. Forget Cerebro, you just need trending topics.

Of course, some people have more "open" minds than others. One common complaint is the absolute banality of many tweets/thoughts. Many telepathic sci-fi/fantasy characters have the same complaint. You hear all of these voices and you have to filter them out unless you go crazy. We're learning to do that now. I choose not to follow some people or I skim some tweets but I'm still connected to all of my friends all the time. Let's not forget learning to deal with "mental attacks" in the form of spammers. We're learning how block those too.

What else?

  • Telepathy may have distance limits. Twitter doesn't.
  • Telepathy usually eliminates language barriers. Tweetdeck has a pretty awesome translator.
  • Telepathy has the power to influence people's thoughts. Besides link and news sharing, how many celebrities has Twitter killed? Jeff Goldblum, Miley Cyrus, Kanye, and surely more to come.
Obviously, we can't affect each other physically with telepathy, and I rather hope we don't get to that point. I'm sure there are more parallels to be drawn, but I'll think up more later. (Feel free to share if you come up with something!)

Just Do It

Naturally, when I first conflated Twitter with telepathy, I tweeted about it:

@pandang:Sometimes I think Twitter is the first step toward telepathy. You have everyone's head in your head @ the same time, but you can easily...
@pandang:...filter out or listen in to certain voices. We stay connected 24/7, but don't have to talk directly unless we want to. Think about it.

Jean Grey.jpgMoments later my friend @theMaykazine re-tweeted what I said, prompting my response:

@pandang: @theMaykazine I was "chatting" w/ a friend via twitter & it hit me. Our generation's ability to multitask is like a step in evolution. :O

All of this has basically proved my point. I had a thought, Mayka heard it, responded, and then we were in conversation. I hadn't said one word to her all morning, but within moments, we were talking, and just as quickly, we weren't. Meanwhile our mutual friends could see our discussion and could have chosen to jump in if they wanted to.

Telepathy. We're getting there and it's kind of awesome...

...I'm already Jean Grey.

Postscript: Don't hate on Jean Grey. She's had a tough four or five lives.

Postpostscript: And don't worry about her current status in the comic, she'll be back.

Postpostpostscript: I recognize that Facebook does essentially the same thing with their new stream, but I think Twitter is the purest form and most clearly fits the connection with telepathy. And I don't really use Facebook anymore.

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wow, great thoughts. Your education $ is getting put to good use! (not being sarcastic!) ZOMG we're telepaths! remember Anne McCafferey? I own her whole series on telepaths/telekinetics, yay syfy XP. What's really scary is seeing kids these days, who are perhaps even more intuitively using computers/seemingly able to multitask.

Loved your post about Glee, really deep and insightful. So cool to see the world through your soc/media eyes, not my medicine/science ones.

Of COURSE I remember Anne McCaffrey! XD I really liked the Rowan series--and besides comics--she was the first to get me thinking about telepathy and what it meant to be in someone's head.

My little cousins have been wired practically since birth. I mean, we're wired as it is but that didn't start until 7th/8th grade. I remember when your parents got the first 56k modem, that was INSANE...

...just thinking about that reminds me how fast tech has changed in our *youth* much less our lives. So interesting.

This is so much more worth my time than reading about studies who announce "XX% of Twitter tweets are nonsense."

A good, solid chunk of my news comes from me reading my subscriptions' feeds now. As another person of letters, this embarrasses me. As another technophile, it excites me! My news is a bunch of headlines! I don't know how to interpret this information! :X

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