What resonated most with me in Tama Leaver’s piece was his reference to Liz Lawley and her arguments about why Twitter matters (http://mamamusings.net/archives/2007/03/06/why_twitter_matters.php). The specific passage that Tama highlighted was this…

But asking “who really cares about that kind of mindless trivia about your day” misses the whole point of presence. This isn’t about conveying complex theory–it’s about letting the people in your distributed network of family and friends have some sense of where you are and what you’re doing. And we crave this, I think. When I travel, the first thing I ask the kids on the phone when I call home is “what are you doing?” Not because I really care that much about the show on TV, or the homework they’re working on, but because I care about the rhythms and activities of their days. No, most people don’t care that I’m sitting in the airport at DCA, or watching a TV show with my husband. But the people who miss being able to share in day-to-day activity with me–family and close friends–do care.

This hit me because it could really have been aimed directly at me. I was the person that was constantly asking ‘what is the whole point of this?’ and ‘who cares what I have to say about the weather?’. Apparently I have been missing the whole point of presence. Quite possibly there are people out there that, as Lawley suggests (2007), “care about the rhythms and activities” of my day. This is something that I have been reflecting upon over the last few weeks and one reason why I have been regularly engaging in the Twittersphere for the first time in years. Twitter does have a unique way of telling stories about people and their lives. We can piece together quite a lot about someone from reading relatively few tweets and although some of these bite-sized pieces of information may seem insignificant, they form something quite important when they are examined as a whole.

Twitter should really be seen as another important tool in the formation of our online identities. As Helmond suggests, it “acts as a central social node” in the social media landscape (2010, p.17). It is a useful tool with which we can connect with our community.

References –

Leaver, T. (2007) ‘It’s a Small World After All: From Wired’s Minifesto to the Twitterati’, Tama Leaver dot Net, March 11. Retrieved from http://www.tamaleaver.net/2007/03/11/its-a-small-world-after-all-from-wireds-minifesto-to-the-twitterati/

Helmond, A. (2010) ‘ Identity 2.0: Constructing identity with cultural software.’ Anne Helmond. New Media Research Blog. Retrieved from http://www.annehelmond.nl/wordpress/wp-ontent/uploads//2010/01/helmond_identity20_dmiconference.pdf

Lawley, L. (2007). ‘Why Twitter matter’. Mamamusings Blog. Retrieved from http://mamamusings.net/archives/2007/03/06/why_twitter_matters.php