So...I showed this wee slideshow to open up our panel at 140 | The Twitter Conference today (great conference, btw) to demonstrate the essence of what I think is the reason that Twitter has captured our imaginations.
It's not the links or the deep wisdom or the celebrities or the customer service stuff supplied by the companies on Twitter that makes it amazing. It's the connection I feel to the people I follow when they make me smile, or feel sad or feel passionate about something. It's the constant display of humanity sliding by on my screen daily. I know when someone thousands of miles away is feeling frustrated at work. I feel the elation a virtual stranger is feeling when he finishes that race he's been training for forever. I share that funny moment that person I miss hanging out with has...and can feel closer to her for it.
The other stuff is gravy. If it weren't for the interesting tidbits and connections I feel emotionally to the people on Twitter, I wouldn't tune in so religiously and catch the great New York Times article or the fact that one of my favorite artists is coming to town. If all I got was customer service on Twitter, I'd only tune in when I had an issue. But because of the ambient intimacy of the connections...the real human experiences being shared daily, I may also tune into the 'commercial breaks': this company doing good stuff and this person launching that cool bit. It's a bonus, but not the core of what draws me in.
Twitter is, if nothing else, a series of sheep throwing awesomeness allowing for mondo exchanges of whuffie, with commercial bits and bobs stuck in here and there to also make it lucrative enough in the marketplace so we can afford to keep on about our daily adventures. And some may say, "Sounds ridiculous!" but I say, "No...ridiculous is the notion that everything has to be boiled down to a transaction and thank GOD something came along to demonstrate the importance of interaction for the sake of connection without a value judgement or a pricetag on it!"
If we go and suck the humanity out of Twitter, it WILL go away. It will cease to be interesting and you will have no goshdarned place to put your productive/lucrative bits anymore. It's not that I'm all googly eyed about the touchy-feely, it's that I recognize that the touchy-feely - the throwing sheep - is the BASIS of what makes us bloody happy. The other stuff we stick in there to be able to pay our rent and buy fancy things that make us appear to be happy. And if we want to continue to reap the benefits here, we need to stop sucking the social out of our social media spaces.
It's not just the nice thing to do...it's necessary.