The Anthropology of Weird Twitter

One contributing factor to why anthropology is that it allows researchers to understand culture through social media. These studies uncover new ideas and observations about how society works as well as teach important lessons about human behaviors. The article “Why Weird Twitter” by Sebastian Benthall takes a look at a particular internet community he defined Weird Twitter. This is a community of Twitter subscribers who mostly create an alias and their “Styles of tweeting and types of jokes that originated among its small sects have bled out into the mainstream”. Through observing the conversation between these users led Benthall to conclude that because digital environment is overflowed with symbols used to communicate is possible to algorithmically detect a community. This breakthrough enlightens an anthropologist to make create solutions to certain problems. This information could be used for “political manipulation, commercial advertising, and other kinds of social manipulation and control”. Utilizing anthropological skills and knowledge allows the researcher to come up with solutions to problems nobody knew existed. Benthall explains that if the bloggers want to avoid surveillance and manipulation by any organizations that are aware of this algorithm, they must make their interaction entries “wild, original and complex”. This article also displays human tendencies to create societies, even with people who do not know each other’s real name. The study exposed human trends to surround themselves with similar kind of people.

Advertisements