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From a Distant Star in the “Social” System: Aliens Using Twitter?

Of all the weird tales of alien contact I’ve come across, I remember reading a particularly strange article in Fate Magazine years ago titled “Phone Call From an Alien.” In the piece, the author recounted some bizarre and disturbing incidents where strange phone calls had been received under rather peculiar circumstances, with the voice on the other end amounting to little more than an angry-sounding incoherent mumbling, coming from an impatient someone–or something–on the other end of the line.

Something about the story, at the time, was very odd-sounding and even frightening in some respects; why on Earth (or in this case, why elsewhere in the universe) would aliens ever want to call somebody on the telephone?

What if extraterrestrials were constantly trying to get in touch with we, the denizens of Earth, using our existing technology? If telephones were acceptable mediums, say, a few decades ago, then how might aliens do it today, considering how our technology has progressed?

According to one recent theory, it seems Twitter, or perhaps at least something similar, would be the likely answer. This, according to Dr James Benford, president of Microwave Sciences in the US, is because aliens would likely use short, direct omnidirectional messages, a process he envisions being “more like Twitter and less like War and Peace.”

Benford notes that the process of transmitting messages across hundreds of light years, a task in itself, would require tremendous resources, which again supports the likelihood that shorter, smaller data transfers–similar to those Twitter uses–would be preferable. Fortunately for those wanting to get on the socio-spacial media rocket-wagon, new estimates detail more than 100 planets of similar size and disposition which may be conducive to life. This, of course, is in addition to the nearly 100 million others throughout the milky way that are already expected to harvest the potentials for life.

Before long, you may be getting friendly messages from aliens which, like yourself, are interested in exchanging little tidbits of knowledge in much the same way Twitter users do. But what about the prospect that aliens might have contacted you already? It’s a strange notion, but not wholly unacceptable; to find out for sure, we’ll probably just have to wait and see what waits “in the stars!”

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Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.
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