Twitter has a huge problem — and its all in your head

Twitter has a huge problem — and its all in your head

first_imgLast Thursday, the social giant Twitter did a very peculiar thing: It gave its 300 million users license to … stop tweeting.“We know it can be challenging to find time to get through everything,” a sympathetic Twitter tech lead wrote on the company’s blog. So instead of expecting users to keep up with everything, Twitter was testing a new feature called Highlights: a once-a-day digest of the site’s most important, relevant information, shorn of all the real-time chatter and noise and nonsense that arguably make Twitter, well — Twitter.Nine years after the site launched, and two years after investors began demanding user growth, Twitter seems to have realized what lots of hardcore users learned the hard way long ago: that the great hallmark of Twitter, the unfiltered real-time feed, is psychologically untenable.“The modern brain hasn’t evolved to keep up,” said Daniel Levitin, a cognitive psychologist and the author of the bestseller “The Organized Mind.” “That’s why we feel so exhausted all the time.”Cognitive psychologists call this phenomenon “information overload,” and it’s increasingly symptomatic of all online life — although Twitter, with its infinite, incessant real-time feed, proves a particularly vexing case. By some estimates, the average American consumes five times as much information now as he did 20 years ago — 100,500 words, and 34 gigabytes, for the average person on an average day in 2008. (For comparison, 34 gigabytes = two times the memory of the entry-level iPhone.)But while we consume a lot of this information passively — like when we glance at a billboard or a banner ad — we also expend a ton of mental energy sifting for, and processing, the important stuff. That phrase — “mental energy” — is deliberate. As Lucy Jo Palladino, a psychologist who studies attention, explains, the brain is a muscle like any other, and it can’t run on empty.When you encounter new information, she says, it stimulates your brain to produce chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine, which make you feel alert and help you process that information. But when you process too much information too quickly — by, say, scrolling through your ever-updating Twitter feed for hours on end — you burn through all that brain energy. You end up feeling foggy or irritable or unproductive or angry. (One 2011 study even linked Internet overstimulation to long-term consequences, such as elevated stress levels and other adverse health effects.)“When you’re bored, stimulation improves attention, but only up to a point,” Palladino said. “After that, stimulation degrades attention.” A mock-up of Twitter’s new Highlights feature. It sends users a push notification (left), which they can then swipe through for top tweets and trending stories. (Via Twitter)On Twitter, in fact, we actually know exactly where that crossover point lies: A recent study by researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute found that 30 tweets per hour is the most people can handle before their mental processing slows.Obviously, that poses some big questions for those of us who spend a lot of time in front of our screens. (Like, if I didn’t have so many tabs open, could I afford to drink less coffee?) But for Twitter, the issue is far more existential: If its service is inherently cognitively stressful, it can’t possibly persuade new users to sign up. And without those crucial sign-ups, Twitter could be in trouble. Its stock fell sharply Tuesday after a disappointing earnings call revealed that the site had missed revenue expectations and is still struggling with user growth.Undeterred, Twitter has kept up a steady patter of new-product launches, all of them geared toward decreasing the amount of cognitive effort needed to use the service: an “instant timeline” tool that organizes information for new users, a “while you were away” feature that lets people take breaks from the constancy of the stream.The odd thing about these new features, beside their sudden frequency, is how distinctly un-Twitter they all seem. Twitter’s stated purpose has always been the raw, unfiltered information stream — the “Twitter firehose,” its frequently called, a stream so forceful and so high-volume it could knock somebody out. (Not coincidentally, “drinking from the firehose” has come to mean “being overwhelmed.”)Features like Highlights, on the other hand, seem to accommodate both a little more order in our timelines and a little time away from our screens. And incidentally, those are the exact things researchers say our brains really need to process all the information spinning through them.Palladino likens Twitter to rush hour at Grand Central Station: It’s overwhelming and chaotic and imminently stressful, with too much noise and stimulation to ever adequately take in.“But with the right filtering tools — an accurate schedule, a giant display of track numbers — it’s self-organizing,” she said. “Each person chooses where she wants to go and does, in fact, get there.”Will Highlights help Twitter users sort information that way, to cut down on the sheer mental effort required to keep up with all those tweets? Palladino thinks it has potential, particularly when used in conjunction with other techniques such as Twitter filters, “pacing” (i.e., taking breaks) and good old-fashioned self-discipline. Levitin, who recently cut back on his own tweeting, agrees.“My advice,” he said, “is to think about what you want to do during the day, to prioritize that deliberately. Then set aside maybe an hour or two, a designated time, to check your Twitter and your Facebook and your Tumblr and your Vine.”That way, Levitin said, you conserve your brain for the stuff that really matters most to you. The tweets will still be there when you’re ready for them. And your sanity will be, too.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Now you can watch Periscope streams directly in your Twitter feed The New York Times eyes more changes to meet digital challenge Comcast’s NBCUniversal invests $200 million in BuzzFeed Spotify hit by new $200 million copyright suitlast_img read more

New York New York – Reported by Elite Traveler t

first_imgNew York, New York – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineA watch for Gentlemen. GRAHAM’s passion for refined details usually leads to admirable creations. But the genius of watch making science lies in its ability to create simple timepieces from the most complicated mechanism. GRAHAM has developed a graceful unique chronograph which brings its fundamental watch making developments and British touch of style together. Knot your tie with a Windsor knot and let’s discover the craftsmanship of GRAHAM’s legacy.A turning point where things began to change for people. The BBC was created and the first TV broadcasts started. The use of media as entertainment became common. The Graf Zeppelin operated transatlantic passenger flights between Britain and North America. 1930s also saw the creation of the jet engine by the Englishman, Frank Whittle and tea bags! People definitely needed to have something which would help them to open up to this new world and fulfill their thirst for knowledge and beautiful machinery.GRAHAM made its new Chronofighter 1695 a timeless watch making instrument. An automatic 42 mm chronograph powered by a sophisticated Swiss movement. The minutes counter is placed at 6 o’clock and the date at 3 o’clock, a distinctive GRAHAM disposition. In keeping with Gentlemen’s taste for style, we have also chosen to crown the watch with a pink gold case (18K). The pink gold (18K) case back is elaborately hand-engraved with the Greenwich Royal Observatory as a tribute to the early life of George Graham, the official watchmaker of this important British Institution. The case back also features a sapphire aperture on the balance wheel and the escapement. An homage to “Honest George”, the father of the chronograph and creator of simplified escapements which are the ancestor of the Swiss modern escapement. Elegant and distinctive.The thirties saw a proliferation of new technologies in all domains. But the most conclusive is certainly the lever which was originally used in aviation and early car racing. The renowned GRAHAM start and stop system is naturally present on the left side of the case to be activated by the thumb. The silver-white dial is finely-worked and is domed to recall the 30s style. Minimalistic and efficient.The Chronofighter 1695 has been made for all Gentlemen adventurers with pure GRAHAM DNA. Main features also include: 42 mm pink gold (18K) case, caliber G1745, automatic chronograph, 25 jewels, 28’800 A/h (4Hz), Incabloc shock absorber, 48 hours power reserve, domed sapphire crystal with antireflective coating on both faces, pink gold (18K) case back with Greenwich Observatory hand engraved and sapphire aperture on the balance wheel, brown crocodile strap.GRAHAM traces its origins to London clockmaker George Graham (1673-1751) who is considered as the father of modern watch making. He is known as the father of the chronograph as he invented the start and stop device of the chronograph. The dead-beat and cylinder escapement, the mercury pendulum to compensate the influence of temperature on pendulums, to name a few. He also built the master clock for Greenwich Royal Observatory which timed most of the 18th century and lots of science instruments for astronomers and physicists. GRAHAM was revived in 1995 and is today a privately owned Swiss watch company. GRAHAM SA creates and manufactures its watches in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.www.graham-london.comlast_img read more