The importance of being Twitter

March, 2015

For years researchers around the world have striven to find real proofs of black holes influencing the time. But an observable black hole that could bear witness of this behaviour has always been under their eyes: Facebook.

Try to occur this situation: You open in all innocence your FB page, then you take a look at what your friends have done in the last few days, and – BOOM – you fall into an Einstein-Rosen bridge and outside it’s sunset.

Yes, Facebook is a brilliant time-wasting machine, which has really few useful applications in common works – except of course for people working with Social Sciences or advertising (which could probably be thought as the Social Science of year 2000).

I believe the real problem of these years is categorization coupled with inattentiveness. This gives birth to ignorance, and the laziness to contain it. Social media have the guilt to be promoters of this dreadful combination. Everyone has his Warhol’s 15 minutes of notoriety, everyone can discourse on everything, from technology to politics, from religion to science, with the same cultural level of a sport pub.

This mental impoverishment seems to have repercussions also on technology itself. In a 2012 essay entitled ‘Is our economic growth over?‘, Robert Gordon compares the impact of Computer Science with the effects of the Second Industrial Revolution (end of 1800), which introduced power plants, bulbs, combustion motor, telephone, radio, recorded music and cinema.

We got along with these inventions till the 70’s, the computer revolution’s eve. Since then, our economy has kept a regular 2% growth rate. In the meantime mainframes started to crank out bank reports and bills, ATM’s replaced check-out assistants and barcode scanners replaced clerks.

But, with year 2000, the iPod replaced the Walkman, smartphones replaced cellphones and cars started to board advanced devices like abs, esp, six air-bags but are still moving thanks to a 1800’s combustion motor.

These innovations were welcomed with enthusiasm, but constitute only further incentives to consumerism and time wasting. They don’t contribute to productivity: on the contrary, they probably reduce it and steal time to higher level interests.

An electric bulb changed the world, Tumblr is probably just a platform to share pictures of a cat resembling Orson Welles.

How to get out of this vicious circle of mediocrity ?

‘Cum grano salis’ – with a little bit of wisdom.

Social media are not the devil itself. They are just a tool. It’s up to us trying to get the best out of them.

For instance, let’s speak about Twitter.

Twitter is a magnet for people with a huge ego that want to pollute the world with their fluff and fuss – as the world was interested about what they’re about to eat tonight.

But Twitter can be also a goldmine to keep in touch with some of the most exciting projects and best minds all around the world.

Some examples?

Looking for people?

I personally follow Andrew Ng (@AndrewYNg), Joel Spolsky (@spolsky), Chris Olah (@ch402), Elon Musk (@elonmusk), Gael Varoquaux (@GaelVaroquaux).

Want inspiring companies?

IBM Watson (@IBMWatson), Numenta (@Numenta), Lumiata (@lumiata), Medidata (@Medidata)

Tools and Systems for Data Science?

FastML Extra (@fastml_extra), Yhat (@YhatHQ), Startup.ML (@startupml)

Social Networks are a time-wasting machine. Do you want to break the circle? Learn to dominate your network and milk its best.

Select your interests, and make your time profitable: every morning, right at the tip of your finger, go to your Home, and – taaaac! -Twitter will provide you an updated newsletter on what’s new about your main interests!

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