Qualms with Microblogging - Introspection

Introspection May 3, 2021

Microblogging is, for those unfamiliar with the term, a format of online posting which is intentionally limited in length or size. The best example of a microblogging platform is Twitter (@hyperboliccyan), where a post is capped at 280 characters plus an image. The term also encompasses platforms like TikTok (which is just microblogging but video) and Instagram (microblogging but pictures).

For me, microblogging is a quandary. I love spending time on Twitter and Instagram, because it allows me to have short-short engagement patterns with content, meaning I can use them as distractions from work without needing to commit significant blocks of time like I would with serial streaming or movies. On the other hand, information feeding is becoming increasingly prevalent on these platforms which, fundamentally, are designed for breakfast and holiday pictures, not explanations of economic policy. Based on an informal poll of my Instagram followers, most people with online presence between 12 and 30 seem to find out about both local and world events from social media first.

Here's the thing: social media is for microblogging, not for world news. Compressing an entire story into 280 characters while maintaining the facts and avoiding sensationalisation is just not feasible, and while an individual can justify not knowing all the facts, or posting an opinion, a news corporation like the BBC or Al Jazeerah are supposed to be sources of truth. When one of the major news companies reports on a story, it usually has global significance, to the point where national leaders have security briefings based on the content of the latest publications of the BBC. News corps know, however, that if you want to get maximum eyeballs on your story, you get them on social media, and you make the story as spicy as you can so that they click and read and send through those sweet ad dollars and subscription fees. I've been susceptible to this before too: so many of my posts in the past have been my perspective of the trending topics on Twitter, or something which I know will get clicks (i.e. Rant About The Straights). The difference is that I'm not a billion dollar news company with fact-checkers and professional journalists: I'm a 16 year old with 5 Twitter followers. The expectations from my content should be so much lower than the standards of the BBC, and yet all of their headlines seem to have the express intent of oversensationalising the topic at hand.

Anyway, I don't have much more to say on this topic. I've dropped my personal expectation for word count down to 500 anyway, because I realised that most platforms count by character, not by word. In Character count, I'm easily over 2000 every time, which might be why twitter isn't for me. That's my opinion, anyway.


Pranav Sharma

I’m a year 12 student at St Marks Catholic College. I specialise in science and mathematics, as well as full-stack software/hardware development. I am currently employed as a Network Administrator.

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