Twitter, Please Stop Asking People What They’re Doing

Maybe I use Twitter differently than its intended purpose. I try to use Twitter as both a mass communication tool and also as a source of nearly instant conversion and chatter around a variety of topics, news and interesting/relevant links. Since very early on I’ve done my best not to update with “Eating a sandwich” or “starting the day with a cup of tea and inbox sorting” types of emails.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rsilfver/178134761/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rsilfver/178134761/

Unless I’m going to provide a link to the restaurant, the tea, or the GTD application that’s helping me achieve and maintain my inbox-zero status, I become one of the millions of people standing around yelling into this empty tunnel hoping someone hears me…or the reverberation of my nonsense. I have this visual of millions of people lined up with their heads stuck inside a big pipeline that stretches off into the horizon…and if you could see in, you’d see these million people just yelling things like:

  • “Just finished my coffee, off to class.”
  • “Loving this cake.”
  • “Think I’ll walk today.”
  • “I’m going home now. I’m bored, and hoping there’s something good on tv.”

Something tells me, if we could have something different next to the status update box, instead of “What are you doing?”, we might be able to reduce the amount of useless blabber. Maybe something along the lines of: “Anything interesting to add?”

I look down my list of tweets on my profile page from time to time to see how much red there is (red is my link color). The more tweets I have without any red…the more I’m one of those ostriches with my head in a tunnel.

Now, not everyone is going to find what I have to say relevant or interesting all of the time. I don’t presume to think that I’m that important. But I do know that there’s probably a reason that people follow me: either a) we’re friends in real life, b) know each other in the online space (or design arena), c) they’re following me because I follow them (in which case, they might not be listening at all), and/or d) they’re following me because they get something out of what I have to say.

So, in my mind, it’s my job to provide something of import or relevance when I tweet. A link. A picture. A reply to a question or conversation. Something.

But look, this is just my opinion. What do you think? How do you use Twitter? Do you try to provide added value to your stream and followers? What are you doing, if you’re not doing that?

Please jump in and get involved in the conversation. If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below and sharing/bookmarking this article. Thank you kindly.

6 thoughts on “Twitter, Please Stop Asking People What They’re Doing”

  1. Great analogy. I have to admit…I’m kind of a lame tweeter. Okay, I have never tweeted “eating a sandwich” and I hate that nonsense when I see it. But I do just kind of tweet about nonsense.

    Case in point (here I am, bashing myself, per usual), here is my last tweet: My hair is so dry that if I rubbed it on itself, it would start a fire.

    Could that be ANY more nonsense oriented? I think not. I’m just a linkless fool wandering about Twitter, making an ass of myself.

    Hey, at least your not me. Count yourself lucky. Your tweets are way more utilitarian.

  2. And (as I just DM’d you Ann), you don’t fit into the “lame” category very well because your tweets are velvetty-crafted quips dripping with light-hearted self-deprecation. It’s like you bake your tweets almost as nicely as your RVC (well, I can only imagine it’s the bomb…because my version of your cake is the bomb, and I’m sure I’m doing something slightly off).

    Your tweets make me laugh nearly every single time I read…so, you’re exempt. And I guess, that’s a part of this whole conversation….there are certainly ways to add value without links, @replies and whatnot. Have something of value, or at least filled with wit.

    Oh, who cares. Be boring. Whatever. ;)

  3. I like being exempt from something…I wish it was from work though. Or calories from the Red Velvet Cake. But I digress.

    Okay, good – there is some entertainment value then, I can go with that, I can work with it.

    I do agree though that the “eating a sandwich” or “just dropped my pen” just makes me wonder. Where’s the creativity? Can’t they at least say “eating a sandwich made of earthworms sauteed in a wine reduction sauce. Still tastes earthy” -or- “just dropped my pen down my boss’ pants and had to retrieve. Awkward. But did get a raise, literally and figuratively.”

    I mean, COME ON people. Ya know? Rant

    Most importantly – CONGRATS on that baby!!!! All the best to you, your lovely wife, and the mini-human! :)))))

  4. I think I mix and match, some of my stuff is the what am I doing stuff, sometimes interesting and sometimes dull but I do try and link to pics, even if it is to highlight the pain of me being stuck on a train on the commute to work. I’m also quite noisey and chat a lot to other people so my stream normally has quite s few @s going on.

  5. I like being exempt from something…I wish it was from work though. Or calories from the Red Velvet Cake. But I digress.

    Okay, good – there is some entertainment value then, I can go with that, I can work with it.

    I do agree though that the “eating a sandwich” or “just dropped my pen” just makes me wonder. Where's the creativity? Can't they at least say “eating a sandwich made of earthworms sauteed in a wine reduction sauce. Still tastes earthy” -or- “just dropped my pen down my boss' pants and had to retrieve. Awkward. But did get a raise, literally and figuratively.”

    I mean, COME ON people. Ya know? Rant

    Most importantly – CONGRATS on that baby!!!! All the best to you, your lovely wife, and the mini-human! :)))))

Leave a Reply to Greg Huntoon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>