[Air-L] Trivial tweeting

Bernie Hogan bernie.hogan at gmail.com
Wed Jul 1 07:28:05 PDT 2009

Dear Aoir folk,

I had a Morton's thai chicken sandwich for lunch. Delicious.

Pretty trivial, eh? So why do people do it? I can understand
retweeting 'important' or novel things: it is obviously a practice for
garnering attention (see danah, Scott and Gilad's new DRAFT:
). But why do people tweet what appears to be trivial statements?

In the process of norm formation on twitter, I have been privy to more
than a few conversations where the most common complaint about twitter
is that twitter is for people who want to show off everything they're
doing and, "I don't care what they had for lunch"; they are being
exhibitionistic (which is a veiled term for unwanted self-exposure).

Any thoughts? Here's some ideas:
1. People do not know what constitutes 'interesting' and they are
trying. (The spaghetti on the wall hypothesis - throw it all and see
what sticks)
2. People genuinely believe they are promoting something.
3. People want to make themselves accessible - mundane twitters help
signify a sense of "connected presence".

Also, have you followed anyone who was a trivial twitter, but
ultimately stopped tweeting everything? Have you been privy to a
norm-reevaluation (i.e. someone complaining about a tweeter that led
to a change in the tweeter's behavior?). Did you tweet everything and
then give up because it led to more bad press than good press? Was
there an audience feedback in there, for example, people stopped
following me until I started posting 'serious' things, like
discussions about twitter, then it picked up?

Take care,
BERNiE (@blurky)

Bernie Hogan
Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute
University of Oxford

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