Twitter often gets dismissed as “people with no life tweeting what they had for lunch.” I’ve been on Twitter since 2007 and have come to value the what-I-had-for-lunch tweet. Knowing what you had for lunch helps me get to know you a little better. And if you post what you had for lunch, you’re probably also posting about the sound your cat makes when she snores or the latest funny thing your kid said. (I am guilty on all counts.)
And this is okay.
Last year I attended a talk by Guy Kawasaki on “How to Use Twitter as a Marketing Weapon.” “I don’t read your tweets,” he said. “I only read the ones that mention me.” If you follow @guykawasaki you’ll see that all he does is broadcast links back to his own website. There’s no right way or wrong way to use Twitter, but his method only applies if you have a business model like his, that is, a link-bait website with lots of advertisements.
For most people on Twitter, tweeting what you had for lunch makes sense. It creates a connection to a human being. And in the aggregate, a few million “lunch tweets” can reveal all sorts of things. For example, Twitter is now being used to make stock-market projections (by tracking consumer sentiment), and to track allergy and influenza outbreaks. These trends would not be trackable if the mundane, everyday tweets were replaced by marketing weapons.
By the way, I had a spinach-and-shrimp tubular taco at Hula Hut today.