Twitter might be turning us into lazy minded, clueless drones
Has Twitter eroded your ability to think for yourself? Or will you have to ask Twitter that question and then report back with an answer from @bumdragon47?
Well, an honorary fellow at Edinburgh University reckons that social networks like Twitter and Facebook can chip away at our analytical thought processes and make it harder to form individual opinions, because we just copy each other.
Dr Iyad Rahwan, from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, tested groups of 20 people by asking them three trick questions over and over again. When answering individually, people tended to stick with the answer they’d given, even though it was wrong.
Then he asked another group to answer the questions. Finally, everyone was put in a group, and could see each other’s answers. When the people who had given an incorrect answer saw that others had given a more convincing, correct answer – they changed their answers without even thinking.
If you’ve ever secretly copied anyone’s homework, you would probably just put this down to human nature, rather than some dreadful, unthinking hive mind created by social media. But Dr Rahwan believes that our innate copycat tendencies might mean that Twitter users will just rely on other people’s opinions rather than forming their own.
Which does possibly go some way to explaining the pitchforky outrage that regularly sets Twitter alight. And it also might explain why Katie Hopkins has so many followers.
Anyway, I'll ask Twitter about it and get back to you.