'Almost destined to fail:' The stars of HBO's 'Silicon Valley' talk about why social media today is troubled

Silicon ValleyHBOMartin Starr, who plays Bertram Gilfoyle on ‘Silicon Valley’ with Kumail Nanjiani who plays Dinesh Chugtai

Starring in HBO’s “Silicon Valley” hasn’t changed how Martin Starr or Kumail Nanjiani view social media.

But as the show enters its fourth season, the two recognise that social media, particularly Twitter, has changed a lot in the last four years. 

“A lot of times it seems like social media has devolved into people just yelling at each other and not really conversing,” said Nanjiani in an interview with Business Insider. 

Nanjiani, an active Twitter user with over a million followers, largely tweets about politics with a little bit of the HBO show, which debuts this Sunday, thrown in. However, Nanjiani says that he’s stopped paying attention to messages sent to him for his own mental health, he said. Starr, who tweets way less frequently than Nanjiani, also has a hard time tolerating what Twitter, and its fellow social networks, have become.

Nanjiani originally thought the “great promise” of social media would be people of different backgrounds being able to converse with people that they wouldn’t normally have access to. 

“The flip side, and we’re seeing a lot of that, is people finding other people who agree with them and who sort of reinforce their narrow beliefs and then people just getting stronger and stronger in their beliefs and are not really having a conversation,” Nanjiani said.

“It’s hard too because 160 characters, or 140 characters, isn’t the best way to communicate. So it’s not a forum for communication,” Starr added. “It was almost destined to fail as far as open dialogue is concerned.”

Nanjiani continued: “I think it was more designed for people to just send out little thoughts, little thoughts, little thoughts. And then it sort of became so popular that people are trying to use it for conversation, but as Martin is saying, Twitter is just not the best mode for actually having a well-reasoned discussion mostly because of the character limit. That’s not what it was designed for I think.”

“Unfortunately a lot of people don’t seek outside their bubble and there’s a chance that retweeting something or spreading something that penetrated my life or make me think outside my box or, a lot of the time, reinforced feelings that I already had about what was going on, but we should all be aware of — sharing that is valuable,” Starr said. “But I can only handle so much before I get sick.”

The new season of Silicon Valley debuts on HBO on Sunday, April 23rd at 10pm eastern/9pm central time.

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