Context Collapse: The Silent Killer of Twitter | Why Twitter is Broken 2023


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# The Impact of Context Collapse on Social Media

## Introduction
One of the biggest reasons why many people dislike Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks is due to a phenomenon called context collapse. This term, which has its own Wikipedia entry, refers to the flattening of multiple audiences into one context, leading to various issues in online discussions.

## Understanding Context Collapse
Context collapse works by merging different audiences into a single space, where messages may be misinterpreted, leading to misunderstandings, bad faith engagements, and fake outrage. This lack of context can turn harmless interactions into contentious debates and jokes into serious statements.

## The Role of Twitter
Twitter’s « main character » phenomenon exemplifies context collapse, where a single tweet or individual becomes the focus of large groups of diverse users. This daily occurrence showcases how online interactions can quickly spiral out of control, leading to bullying, cancel culture, and misinterpretations.

## Challenges of Online Communication
Switching between different social media contacts with ease can lead to spontaneous and exciting interactions. However, the lack of context in online conversations can result in misunderstandings, bullying, and the amplification of misinformation. Users have little control over how their content is presented and interpreted, leading to shallow communication and predictable outcomes.

## Twitter’s Trending Topics
Twitter’s Trending Topics tab aims to reduce misinformation but often falls short due to context collapse. Trending topics can quickly escalate, as seen in the case of journalist Elle Hunt, whose innocuous tweet sparked a wave of outrage and attention. The platform’s design flaws can turn individuals into unwitting targets of online scrutiny and backlash.

## Conclusion
The prevalence of context collapse on social media platforms like Twitter highlights the challenges of online communication. Users must navigate a complex landscape where their words can be taken out of context, leading to unintended consequences. As we grapple with the impact of context collapse, it’s essential to consider how online interactions shape our perceptions and behaviors.


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