Why tweet?

A week or two ago, I explained how Twitter is not just another inbox. It’s meant to blur by–a stream we visit occasionally but don’t follow post-by-post. Smart twitterers learn to ignore the service’s constant background noise.

But this raises another question. If no one’s really listening, why tweet at all? Why post something that others may not even read?

Many of us tweet because we’re in denial about the value of our narcissistic “content.” We’re too self-absorbed to realize that no one else cares about our excruciating minutiae: food selections and location check-ins and tired talking points. Misguidedly, we convince ourselves that our quips are clever, our insights profound, and our thoughts worthy.

We may even have grandiose ideas about Twitter ushering us into fame and fortune. We shamelessly self-promote, hoping to attract new readers, woo new customers, or capture mind share. With each new post, we cross our fingers, hoping beyond hope that this one goes viral.

For others, tweeting provides an outlet for our social frustration. We long for real, embodied human contact–something our fast-paced, screen-mediated lives deny us. This disconnection hurts, and we recoil. We spasm. We tweet, hoping that someone will notice and reply.

Ugh… this is depressing. I’d better end the post–and plug it with a well-worded 140 characters or less.