Homogenized is the new overheard”

I think Twitter is a huge experiment in human interaction. What does a group of users do when given a service (for free) which does essentially nothing, with no real direction or constraints on its use? They play. Yesterday I got to witness a Twitter microevolution firsthand.

A less known feature of Twitter is the ability to track certain phrases. Whenever someone posts a tweet containing that word, you will see it even if you’re not following the user who tweeted. The most common example is “overheard”. In fact, Twitter has been telling its users to “track overheard” for quite some time. Judging from the lack of tweets they must have disabled it. Until yesterday, that is.

Sometime around noon, all hell broke loose. Twitter began sending out updates to all the curious users who had ever tried to “track overheard”. Most of them had no idea what was happening. So they start responding:

Why do I keep seeing these things about overheard?

What is overheard?

unfollow overheard

Of course, this just adds fuel to the flame, since these new tweets are sent to everyone and their plant too… At one point I was getting 3 texts per second.

I sat back and enjoyed the show.

I noticed something interesting. The “overheard” crew started developing a sense of camaraderie. “overheard” turned into something of a chat room. The only requirement for participation was to include the word “overheard” in a tweet.

The handful of Twitterists that managed to stick out the flood of “overheard” became acquainted, forged relationships, and made business plans

Things have died down a bit. People now use “overheard” just as it’s intended. But I’m a bit sad. I miss all my new overheard friends.

If anyone wants to join me, I’ll be hanging out in “homogenized”. Just text track homogenized to 40404.