Lots of people on Twitter do think you’ll enjoy the spectacle of their snacks. They tell you what they’re eating, where they’re going, what they’re consuming, never mind why you should care.
Nick has already done a good post about this but I’d just like to address this fallacious statement specifically by asking why you should care about what any of your friends are doing that aren’t curing cancer or starting riots? Frankly we can’t all talk about Beckett and Wittgenstein all of the time and I’m glad because I enjoy seeing what other people are up to and into even when they aren’t strictly academic. I like watching Michelle’s instagram posts about quirky things happening in DUMBO and Erin’s drunken Melbourne adventures and Becky’s wide-ranging observations even though none of them are particularly erudite and germane. When I was hanging out with Christian a few weeks ago we started talking about Choire’s tumblr and its seemingly inexplicable popularity, because it’s just pictures of cats, isn’t it? (He has since expanded.) But as Christian said, there’s a sense of authorial trust. Those pictures of cats matter (in a loose sense; I’m not trying to make Choire cringe with self-importance) because people care about who’s posting them. And that’s not even considering tweets that later make their way to longer posts like Brandon’s musing on working-class sci-fi which started on Twitter. Plenty of times I’ve not felt something was worth elaborating into a Tumblr post until I started tweeting about it and realised I had something to say. I remember years ago Pierce said something like the ease of publishing thoughts to Twitter meant expelling ideas before they had a chance to gestate into something bigger but I’ve always considered Twitter partially as a real-time scratch pad. If you can get your thoughts out there and you’re not worried about scooping yourself then letting other people contribute to those strands of ideas can really help develop them. I’ve been using Twitter for a long, long time and I’ve never seen one really compelling reason for it being as unequivocally useless as articles like this n+1 piece try to make it seem*, because that criticism is based on a misguided idea of what Twitter is and shows total ignorance to its potential.
* William Bowers makes some excellent points (and includes some amusing irony) in this excellent edition of Puritan Blister although it didn’t make me want to use Twitter any less.