At the outset, I would like to say that I don’t think I get Twitter. On the other hand, I think I get Facebook. The source of my confusion with regard to Twitter is the question that I am expected to answer. Twitter asks you the question: “What are you doing?” Whereas Facebook’s question is “What’s on your mind?”
Twitter’s About page states, “The result of using Twitter to stay connected with friends, relatives, and coworkers is that you have a sense of what folks are up to.” And that’s why they ask the question, “What are you doing?” But I see that people are hardly answering that question anymore. At least the people I follow (me including) seem to be answering Facebook’s question, “What’s on your mind?”
Something similar happened with blogging. The word “blog” is short for “web log” and a “log” is supposed to be a listing of what someone did on a particular day. But people soon started using blogs to express their opinion, which is basically answering Facebook’s question, “What’s on your mind?”
Over the past couple of days, I tried something. I used Twitter to tell the people following me exactly what I was doing. I told them that I was getting ready to board a plane in Goa. I told them which book I was reading. I told them I was changing planes in Brussels. I told them that I checked into the Scottsdale Plaza. Basically I answered the question, “What are you doing?” And every time I answered that question, I asked myself, “Why would anyone want to know?” and “Why should they even care?” Frankly, I believe it makes sense to tell someone what you are doing if it is going to add some value (however small it may be) to that person in some way or the other. After all, the people following me on Twitter are actually taking their time out to read what I am writing.
I highly doubt people following me on Twitter will be interested in knowing which book I am reading. But I guess they may be interested in knowing what I think about the book or its author. I doubt they will be interested in knowing what I am eating in a restaurant. But they may be interested in knowing whether I think the food is good or not. I think you get the point.
I am pretty sure people will be more interested to know what’s on my mind as opposed to what I am doing. And I believe this is probably the reason that most people, knowingly or unknowingly, more than often, end up answering Facebook’s question on Twitter.