Why Do People Tweet?

From The New York Times Magazine, Let Them Eat Tweets by Virginia Heffernan:

“Connectivity is poverty” was how a friend of mine summarized [Bruce] Sterling’s bold theme. Only the poor — defined broadly as those without better options — are obsessed with their connections. Anyone with a strong soul or a fat wallet turns his ringer off for good and cultivates private gardens that keep the hectic Web far away. The man of leisure, Sterling suggested, savors solitude, or intimacy with friends, presumably surrounded by books and film and paintings and wine and vinyl — original things that stay where they are and cannot be copied and corrupted and shot around the globe with a few clicks of a keyboard.

Sterling does have a point, however the ability to professionally network from the ground up via social networks can’t be dismissed. Becoming connected gets people ahead and to the place where they can afford to turn their ringers off. There are too many uses for social (media) networks to generalize it as Sterling has, as Ashton Kutcher proved a few days ago.

But let me put in my two cents on Ashton Kutcher. He challenged CNN and recently beat them to one million followers on Twitter. He’s talked a bunch of big shit about “new media” giving “everyday people a voice” and I agree with him on that note. But here’s where his hyppocracy lies: Kutcher may have 1.2 million followers on Twitter as of this posting, but he only follows 84 people–mostly other celebrities–and his posts are mostly blather about nothing. If you’re going to clammer for that much attention, Ashton, you better continue to promote causes such as World Malaria Day and do something more than tell us you loved ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. If you want to be heard, you should listen as well.

I know what you’re thinking: I should practice what I preach and tweet less about what I had for dinner and more about shit that is, you know, important. But I’m not into social networking for the power or for people to hear my “voice”. I’m on Twitter to network, to socialize, and for entertainment, so I will continue to mostly talk about me and my little world…and continue to read about other people and their little worlds as well.

2 thoughts on “Why Do People Tweet?

  1. I started twittering for the fun of it, and because I enjoyed knowing about other people’s interesting thoughts and activities. (Note keyword: interesting.) But it has begun to feel like just another social and professional obligation.

  2. Thank you for staying inside, away from the store, and avoiding the shower to write this. It’s beautiful. I’m sharing with the world, or at least the 196 people that follow me. Tweet on. Nobody writes about reality like you do.

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