To tweet or not to tweet: that is NOT the question

Faris Yakob

There is a correlation between the speed with which communication technologies distribute information and the amount of time that information takes to have an effect. I call this 'cultural latency' – latency is a term stolen from network computing – and it's decreasing because of the increased speed of communication technologies.

One way of describing this process, or indeed a symptom of it, is Gartner's Hype Cycle – a model for cultural technology adoption, which maps visibility over time. In essence, people hear about technologies too soon, they get overly hyped before anyone has worked out what to do with them, so the world at large becomes disillusioned and stops paying attention, which gives the technologies the breathing room they need to work out what they are for.

The wireless 3G hype cycle stretches over more than a decade – but diminished latency means things can rise, fall and rise again much faster now. Twitter is both a driving force behind diminished cultural latency and its own accelerated hype cycle case study.