Twitter asks the question, “What’s happening?” Although people now use Twitter to share the many kinds of ideas and information we describe in Chapter 4, they initially used it to answer that question pretty literally. So they reported that they were going for a bike ride, making bacon sundaes or watching the dog chew on a sofa cushion. Because they could send updates not only from their computers but from their phones, too, people also tweeted that they were sitting next to Bono on a flight to Zimbabwe, being handed a parking ticket on 5th Avenue or getting crummy service from United.
Although status updates like that may sound mundane, people on Twitter have found that becoming aware of what your friends, family and colleagues are doing leads to a lightweight but meaningful intimacy. Sociologists refer to this phenomenon as “co-presence,” or the sense of being with others. Non-academics, when they have a name for it at all, call it “ambient intimacy” or, more commonly in work situations, “ambient awareness.” You could think of it as a cross between ESP and what your mother might call “keeping in touch.”
In this chapter, we look at things you can do to boost your personal connections on Twitter.
Whether you use Twitter primarily for professional ...