Twitter: The Connective Tissue in the Narrative

In a larger entry about information, Rands writes:

Those frustrated with Twitter are frustrated because they have a belief that a story needs a beginning, middle, and end. And that it should have all of those parts before it’s presented to them. What the hell am I supposed to learn from a tweet? The point of Twitter isn’t knowledge or understanding, it’s merely connective information tissue. It’s small bits of information carefully selected by those you’ve chosen to follow and its value isn’t in what they send, it’s how it fits into the story in your head. There are great stories to be found on Twitter, but you have to do the work.

I tell a narrative with my tweets—the narrative of my life, mainly. I announced my probable bi-polar II diagnosis on Twitter long before I posted it here. [And before I got some great feedback from friends who wanted to tell me that I’m not alone. That made it worth it.] My friends have an idea what’s going on in my life, because I share a goodly chunk of it on Twitter. Jonathan figured out that I had an obsession to eating sushi last week. My tweeps know I’m sick today. [Oddly enough, I didn’t tweet where I went in to work for a couple of hours because I felt I had to do it. It was the right idea, but I’m paying for it now in feeling puny. I’ll live.]

I’ve often said that I don’t know why someone who didn’t know me would read my Twitter. I’m largely the same way with Twitter—I care about the people that I follow, for the most part. I know about my friend Justin’s music school debt, how it creates angst for him and has him in a job he hates because it pays him well enough to get out of that debt. I know that some friends saw a lot of snow today, and some saw none. [And folks know that I saw very little at my house but a lot out by where Stephen and Misty live.]

Now, few of these little blips of information make a whole lot of sense if you don’t have some sense of the larger picture, which is why I write here. Why I share my life online, I’m never 100% sure, but the fact of the matter is that I do it. Part of me thinks that it’s self-expression. Part of me thinks that it’s narcissism. But I find value in it, which is why I’ve done it for almost a decade [!]. But these moments make more sense in the context of friendship, which is why I enjoy it when I go visit Rick and Jessica and don’t have to fill in gaps about what’s been going on with me since they last saw me, or how I’m excited when Mike Terry or Josh Stockment come to visit and roll on up to Nashville [’cause that’s how we do], or when we meet Hubbs in Nashville.

Fundamentally, I find that Twitter is a channel of that narrative, a way of taking your friend’s temperature. What has their eye? [when it comes to links]. What has their ear? [when it comes to music.] What has their ire up? Are they at GEOFCON TWO? Are they happy about something? Have they been in a car wreck? [Happened to two different friends this week. Found out via Twitter both times.] I care about Twitter because I care about people, both those I’ve met and those I’d like to meet.