Twitter is altering language, not just on Twitter, but across all media. Everything is being compactified; short attention spans demand it. Among the benefits are brevity, efficiency, and impact. The downside is the destruction of nuance and precision. Dropped indefinite articles, sentence fragments, and an explosion of abbreviations and acronyms. The danger is a form of Newspeak, in which a decrease in expressiveness of language yields a constricting of thought itself.
Will our capacity for conceptualization be limited to the lowest common denominator or will this punchy format lead to communicating new ideas that otherwise would have collected dust in long-form academic essays?
There’s been a lot of talk recently about Facebook and Twitter censoring conservative and libertarian groups and personalities, such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Lauren Southern. While this is undoubtedly true in many specific instances, how big of an issue is this overall?
One thing we can look at is the number of left- or right-leaning groups. I did a quick search for Facebook groups containing popular political keywords. It seems that the right-wing is much more active, at least measured by number of groups:
I used Facebook’s Graph API to conduct searches. You may get different results using the browser or app search.
These are only the most popular keywords, but there are many more specific keywords, with more groups.
These numbers do not reflect group membership counts or engagement levels. Perhaps that’s a future post!