In a previous post titles “15 Reasons Twitter Must Die“, I accused Twitter users of oversharing the petty, mundane details of their sad, pointless lives.
Incensed Twitterers jumped to its defense. Twitter was a useful tool, they said, and wasn’t just reducing conversation to idle noise. It could be used for sharing ideas, networking, and gauging the zeitgeist.
Thinking I might have been a bit hard on the Twittersphere, I thought I’d revisit the issue. Using the much-celebrated (though hardly revolutionary) search technology recently added to Twitter, I set out to see just how illuminating the average Tweet was.
The idea that Twitter seemed to frequently be a report on what the user was having for lunch seemed to particularly gall the Twitterers who wrote in. So let’s see how many tweets in the last 24 hours concerned the topic of “lunch”.
Well it appears we’ve found the limit of Twitter search: 1500 results. And in the time it took to write that sentence, 16 more results were added.
Keep in mind that as I write this, it is 8:00 am Central Time, which means that unless Greenland is taking an early break, it is not lunch hour in any populated area on Earth.
Just a few sample results:
technobohemia: Playing WOW, but craving Chinese food…when will it be lunchtime?half a minute agoSamShepherd: went to M&S to get lunch and came back with sushi. I’ve never eaten sushi. don’t know what inspired that1 minute agodihsjp: waiting for lunch2 minutes agoqwghlm: Right, feeling vaguely progressive and have tidied the living room. Now for lunch2 minutes agoRebecca_Agra: lunch…4 minutes agoeinerlei: back to library…finally, after having a nice lunch with a friend4 minutes agoWehtam: Back home in sunny Manchester. Off to cash checks after lunch.4 minutes agoeburgosgarcia: back from lunch & hairdresser..9 minutes ago
The disturbing tendency here is toward externalizing what should remain, in a reasonably civilized society, the inner monologue. This is partly the medium’s fault for restricting itself to 140 characters. Even Oscar Wilde would have a hard time coming up with 20 pithy quips a day under those conditions.
Now, to make this experiment somewhat scientific, we need a control phrase. If “lunch” brings up a list of 1500 mundane tweets that no one needs to see, what word or phrase will reveal the intelligent, illuminating, useful tweets I keep hearing about?
This where you come in. Please make your suggestions in the comments, and if I don’t hear from you, have a great lunch.