I have a friend that doesn't blog, doesn't tweet, doesn't update FB all that often--doesn't even get text messages. Yes, there are people out there like this. :)
I was thinking about what my habits must seem like to her, and the reasons why she doesn't share more about her activities. One argument that often comes up with nonstreamers is "Why would anyone care what I'm up to?" I thought about that a lot and realized that when I share, I never make any implicit assumption that anyone does care. In fact, the reason why I choose to tweet something is actually because I probably don't think of it as important enough to go e-mailing or texting individual people.
So when I'm sharing that I'm going to Staten Island to visit my Nana, I don't actually think anyone cares, but a few things could happen around that:
- People may respond with relevant info about traveling to Staten Island today--like Verrazzano Bridge construction or a street fair on Midland Beach.
- My friends or family will know where I am *if* they need me for something and want to check back on my whereabouts.
- You might share some tidbit about your nana... which is always nice.
- It might remind you to call your nana... even nicer.
- ...or something good that I'm not even thinking of.
The point is, there's upside to sharing via a lifestream of some kind... and there's really very little downside. You are the one choosing to subscribe, so if you don't like it you can leave. Therefore I don't fear overwhelming people--you opt in. I know how to be reasonable and professional--so I'm not scared of oversharing and costing myself my job or my next job. Nor am I scared of stalkers--because honestly, someone could choose to stalk me on my way to and from the office just as easily. Knowing who I am doesn't really increase the chance if someone randomly stalking me, IMHO. Plus, being a black belt, maybe I don't fear the stalking that much. I'm quite sure I have a higher chance of getting hit on my bike than picking up a random interweb stalker.
Anyway... point being, most what you see in my various streams is all the stuff I don't assume to be important enough to specifically direct at someone. In that sense, it doesn't warrant any kind of response either. When you e-mail or text me specifically, I'm supposed to respond and I'm a dick if I don't. Again, that implies that you think your message is that important. When I tweet, I'm content for everyone to just ignore it.
The other thing is that it's not interruptive. I rarely ever make phonecalls these days--not just because I really don't like talking on the phone, but because I don't consider my call important enough to bust into your moment. Who knows where you are or what you're doing--but barging in with a phone call makes me feel like it doesn't matter, because my conversation is more important. A tweet or a text seems so much more subtle.
So rather than thinking of us tweeters and bloggers as a bunch of narcissists--perhaps we really don't think you'll care about what we have to say, so we're not shoving it all in your face. We just leave it out there, and if you want, but please don't feel obliged, you're more than welcome to check it out. But, you don't have to... really... it's ok.