“Twitter is weird. A huge amount of what’s written there is metatextual commentary on other tweets intended for a knowing audience reading in a specific moment. It’s an ephemeral, self-referential mode of discourse that is unfortunately not ephemeral or tied to reference points at all — in fact, it’s designed to be broadcast, archived, searched, and embedded by anyone, in any context, at any point in the future.” – Ezra Klein from Vox
Well is it?
Successful provocateurs will say yes and unfortunate souls like Justine Sacco will say it most certainly was not. I’ll theorize that a good chunk of users want to make a name for themselves at some point. They want to be famous and thus will have to walk the tightrope.
Everyone wants to build their own special brand. They want to be someone unique, while being controversial enough to push just the right buttons and step outside boundaries by inches to stand out in a crowded online world. Provocation = profit. A few make a living and following by doing this and the rest don’t. You can be a self-made man and be your own boss! Basically you self-brand.
We of course have a bit of familiarity with those who make it and can ACTUALLY freelance and pay their bills because they did just that. That “fame” and newly acquired online rep comes at a price though; you can go from self-made and having made it to zero quite fast.