Log onto Twitter now and the effect is a bit like the text version of opening the front door to find a hurricane ripping up your neighborhood. Ten years ago, though, the social media service was very different. People weren’t accustomed to the fine art of micro-blogging. Like black and white photographs of previous generations scowling at the camera in their frocks and dorky hats, our predecessors were simple folk, unused to new technology.
This isn’t conjecture. Former Kickstarter CTO and generally good internet person Andy Baio pushed our social sciences forward with a simple experiment yesterday, letting everyone know that you can easily see what your Twitter would’ve looked like a decade in the past.
Everyone you follow now who had an account back in those simpler, gentler times is on full display. What were their concerns? What archeological discoveries can we make beneath the accumulated dust of ten long years? Well, it turns out people were just kind of talking about what they were doing day-to-day and that’s roughly 100 times better than modern Twitter.
Can you imagine? Here are whole Twitter timelines filled with users sharing the mundane instead of the terrible. They just want you to know how they’re spending their time!
People are talking about buying iPhone stuff, sleeping, eating, and the movies they’re watching. Chris Onstad was still live-tweeting the behavior of various Achewood characters. It’s incredible. Even the news was simpler.
If these haven’t won you over, consider, too, that in 2008 only the savviest brands had learned to use their official accounts to act like people.
Still, if you really want to see Twitter’s collective descent into weirdo humor, shittier news headlines, and a general atmosphere of fury and terror, you can also use Baio’s original tip to sort through other years. What better way to spend an afternoon than watching as, year-by-year, innocence fades from the platform forever.
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