Farhad Manjoo asks a question I've long been meaning to myself: what exactly is the reward in using Twitter? I've never been able to come up with a good answer to this question, which is why I've never ever bothered to use my Twitter account even once after creating it. 140 characters doesn't suffice to share all but the most banal thoughts, and when I look at what active users of the Twitter service actually put out, I find myself scratching my head as to why anyone would care to follow such material. Is it really news to anyone that politicians and celebrities engage in all the same mundane daily activities that the rest of us do? I could care less that Ashton Kutcher is mowing his lawn or that Lindsay Lohan just bought an iced frappucino, and if the minutiae of the lives of these famous individuals are of so little interest, I fail to see why anyone - other than perhaps a stalker - would care about the many non-events that make up my typical day, which might look like this in all its gripping detail:
- Woke up and ate breakfast.
- Brushed teeth and showered.
- Got dressed and left the house.
- Tubes running late again. Arrived at work harried and irritated by the overcrowding on the trains.
- Read a paper on monads by Philip Wadler.
- Wrote some new unit tests and fixed some bugs.
- Checked the BBC weather report.
- Lunch - same thing as usual.
- Time to refactor that class hierarchy, this time with concurrency in mind.
- Checked out Reddit's programming section.
- Meeting to discuss latest client requirements.
- Looked at how category theory applies to Haskell.
- Answered a bunch of emails.
- Back to work on refactoring.
- Wrote some documentation and created some UML diagrams.
- Walked to underground station and took the tube home.
- Stopped by the supermarket, picked up some groceries.
- Went to the gym.
- Read some newspapers.
- Read some research papers.
- Read some history.
- Watched latest episodes of "24" and "House".
- Brushed and flossed, off to sleep.
If you managed to wade through all of the above and found anything of great interest, you're much more easily fascinated than I am, seeing as Iisting it all out bored me nearly to tears despite being the one actually living such an existence. Frankly, I wouldn't really have any interest in knowing such things even about people I know in person and care about, much less total strangers in whose lives I have no real stake. When I have something of any real interest to share with the world at large, I put it on here, where I can go on at any length I please, and for keeping personal contacts informed I have Facebook (and even that I use a lot less actively than most other people seem to); those who really care to know what I'm reading or thinking about can just as easily follow my del.icio.us page, to which a handy link already exists on this blog. What, then, is there for me to say that I can only say on Twitter?
Twitter the platform is technologically fascinating as, say, a case study in message queuing or the limitations of Ruby on Rails vs. Scala on the Java Virtual Machine, but otherwise it merely strikes me as a pointless exercise in vanity. I don't care about anyone else's every random brainfart, nor do I see any reason why they should care about mine.