The Twittering utilitarian

O yikes! I’m laid low by a horrible streaming cold after two very intense work-weeks and so I logged onto Twitter (first time I’ve been online in nearly 24 hours) to alert my friends to this fact. I tweeted “Sneezing, coughing and spluttering with a horrible cold”. And then found a tweet from Charles Arthur pointing to a Blog post which suggests that he may ‘unfollow’ me. He takes a strict, non-nonsense line on these matters, viz:

First: what I like is people pointing me to interesting stuff. Which generally means people who include links to interesting stuff in their tweets. When people don’t have those sorts of things in their tweets, and when it really is the unexamined life (”Having cup of coffee” “Eating biscuit”) then I’m afraid I’m not interested. I love ya and all that, but I’d like to get something done. And for me that means finding a fresh perspective, not knowing that you still have a pulse and a functioning brainstem.

What does this mean?

If people start using Qwitter and ask me why I’ve unfollowed them, I’ll point them to this post. It’s simple really. In an attention economy, there’s only so much time I can listen to what colour your curtains are. Then, I’ve got to get on and earn some money. Please, no hurt feelings though.

So there you have it: useful stuff only. To be fair, Charles also provides some cute Applescript for quick-posting of links to Twitter.

I can see what he’s getting at. Some Twitterers (e.g. Dave Winer) are terrific at providing a constant stream of interesting links. But actually one of the things I like about Twitter is that it also enables me to know about the trivial detail of friends’ lives.