Twitter: Why What You Ate For Lunch Matters

Earlier this autumn I got the chance to meet the lovely Sarah Joy Albrecht and her husband Tom for lunch. Spending time with Sarah was delightful and I wished that I had hours more to pepper her with questions. I would love to sit down with Sarah with a mug of tea and simply listen to her for the afternoon.

It struck me as quite surprising that Sarah Joy should be the first person I met through this blog. After all, I knew her primarily as “that cool woman in Japan” and even though she was back in the United States it still seemed unexpected for us to meet (and for her to be willing to go so far out of her way!).

But after I calmed my ebullient little self down from the excitement of meeting Sarah Joy I realized that it really did make sense. Even though Sarah Joy and I don’t comment on each other’s every post or spend hours chatting blog strategy, we do follow each other on Twitter. And without exception I feel as if I know blog friends on Twitter immensely better than the bloggers who do not use Twitter. It does not matter how many 1000s of words I have read in blogposts or emails, I do not feel the same connection with those behind the blogs that I read as I do with those who share their lives with me in 140 characters or less.

Twitter foes suggest that Twitter is worthless because it is full of egomaniacs who blather on about what they ate for lunch. And Twitter fans often like to counter that Twitter is a great tool for social networking and that it is useful for far more than learning what others ate for lunch. If you are really lucky the Twitter fan will even respond with graphs explaining how Twitter is not a social network and exactly why it is so much smarter than Facebook.

But I am not a social media snob. I will freely admit that I both tweet and read a lot about daily activities. And I will also insist that that is worth far more than you might imagine. If you are a superstar-infallible-expert-snazzy-deliciousness-incarnate in your chosen field then you live in your own world. But for the rest of us, the greatest impact that we will ever have comes from being people in relationship with each other. The more fully human we are, the more significant these relationships.

What you ate for lunch is part of who you are as a person. Did you skip lunch because you were in a hurry or too spacey to remember it? Did you sit down for a 4-course picnic with your children on the living room floor? Did you eat the exact same sandwich at your desk as yesterday and every other workday since the beginning of time? Did you cry over your new gluten-free diet? All of this is a part of who you are, and one of the easiest ways to convey “realness” online. Unless you are a professional Twitter-er (or just have a particularly rare form of concise genius) you cannot be active on Twitter and edit yourself into the non-human existence we call perfection.

So I love Twitter both because it’s concise format is easy, and because the ease leads to wonderfully human interaction with people I would never have the chance to get to know otherwise. I use Twitter because I know that what you ate for lunch is important. Very important.

Are you a Twitter fan? If not, why not? If you are on Twitter and I’m not following you, please let me know.

And if you are interested in getting started on Twitter and have no idea whom to follow I’d be happy to give you some personalized recommendations. Twitter is only boring and useless if you don’t follow the right/enough people. And I can help you get over that problem veeery quickly. ;-)

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17 thoughts on “Twitter: Why What You Ate For Lunch Matters

  1. Colin Mason

    Great post! Ever since I started using Twitter a few months ago, I was struck by how different the feel is from Facebook or any other “social network.” Maybe I just follow the right people, but Twitter users really strike me as serious and content-oriented, as opposed to frivolous and vapid as they are so often portrayed. It’s also true that Twitter is not a “social network.” Maybe Twitter users should start consciously calling it something else . . . a “community tool,” perhaps?

    Anyway, I’m going to post this . . . on Twitter!

  2. Deacon Todd Carter

    Dead on about the need to form human relationships in order to have an impact. (Or at least it helps a lot!) Twitter has been fun and I’ve met a lot of interesting people. Plus, you know the people on it don’t mind being commented @ because that’s probably their goal in the first place. Overall, most people are very friendly. I do notice that I tend to get more reactions from people over my fb account. But, I guess that makes sense since I have over 700 friends there while I currently only have 170 some followers. Nice thoughts!

  3. rachieannie

    I love this! Lately I have found myself more excited to check my Twitter feed in the morning than my Facebook or Google Reader. I really cut down on the amount of “big names” that I follow and even just regular people I follow, so to me, these people are real, they’re my friends and I want to know how their day is going and who has blogged. Typically if I don’t follow their blog, I don’t follow them. I want to know the mundane, because then I feel like I know them. Who really only cares about social networking? Blagh. BORING! Those people are boring. So so so boring.

  4. Kathleen Quiring

    I’m a Twitter fan, although I haven’t been using it much since I started working full-time (I work in an office with my boss, and no one else, so I feel weird tweeting at work. And when I get home, I’m so sick of being on the computer that I spend most of my time cooking). I rather miss it, though. Most of the people I follow are charming, and I’ve come across all kinds of fabulous writing via smart Tweeters.

    I’ve found Twitter infinitely more stimulating than Facebook. Interestingly, I don’t follow a single person I know in real life on Twitter . . . I find that it’s mostly people who have interesting things to say who consistently use Twitter, while everyone else uses Facebook. That’s been my experience, anyway.

  5. Sarah Joy Albrecht


    I’m so honored you’d mention our super-awesome-fun-and-way-too-short lunch! :) Clicked on your link without any inclination of a mention.. and was like, “Hey! That’s ME!” Aw!

    Excellent points about Twitter! I love the camaraderie on twitter and humanness of tweeting.

    “…the greatest impact that we will ever have comes from being people in relationship with each other. The more fully human we are, the more significant these relationships.” YES!

    Life in 140 characters.

    Looking forward to meeting up again soon!

  6. Mary

    I love twitter. I love seeing the small snippets of people’s lives that come together to make up their story of who they are.

    You followed me once briefly but stopped. I’m not all that interesting. But i did have a tweet about my lunch yesterday

  7. Nicole

    Uugh, I hate when people who don’t understand Twitter bash it as just another social media. I think it’s funny that they say it’s selfish and yet can’t explain the basic functionality. Twitter seems to be misunderstood but I think most people are on Twitter to actually “follow” and not necessarily to be followed (although admittedly, it is flattering).

    Also, I think the learning curve for Twitter is much steeper than something like facebook. At least it took me awhile to really “get it.” It’s almost too simple. But I think it comes down to finding your niche. I am huge sports fan but the teams I follow are not in the same state so I don’t know any local fans. Twitter connects me to a large community of not only fans but the athletes themselves…it’s actually quite amazing.

  8. Andrea

    Hey Rae!

    You used to follow me as ‘hoodiesandflops’ but I had to ditch twitter and FB for a bit. Recently I have come back and shortened my last name to simply “O”. That way, those who were harassing me will no longer find me :)

    I AM a big twitter fan. To be honest, much more so than FB. There’s too much on FB. Too much EVERYTHING. Games, likes, interests, relatives, blah blah blah …

    I would LOVE if you followed me again! I can’t promise anything profound but I can promise truth and reality. :)

    Thanks again for a wonderful blog, you are amazing! God Bless!!!!!

    ~Andrea (I was the first Catholic vegan on your list!)

  9. Claire

    Huh, that’s interesting. I am not on Twitter and don’t know what it is, really, and always assumed it was just like Fbk, just worse. So I was not inclined to find out anything more about it.

    But I believe what you are saying in this post. It’s the same reason I follow blogs like yours: because I don’t really know any folks in real life who think about/write about the things you do, and I would like to! I would love it if I knew you knew what I had for lunch and the three moves I’ve made in the last 5 months (the most recent of which to India) and how much I want to be happy about the moves (because they are for my dh’s sake), but doggone it, the endless arguments about how the kids don’t WANT to eat more Indian food for lunch at the lunch table every day are making me, uh…cranky.

    Yeah, I can see what you mean. Maybe I need to sign up. :)

  10. Marc Cardaronella

    I was just thinking about this same thing the other day. I did a podcast with a group of people I met through Twitter. I had met one of them in person a few weeks earlier but the rest of us had no interactions outside of blogs and Twitter. However, as we talked over Skype I felt as if I knew them all quite well. It was an interesting feeling. I guess I’m not alone in that. ;-)

  11. Justin

    I completely agree with this post. I love Twitter. It has connected me with many people that I would not have been connected with before. I get great spiritual news and great interactions with people discussing faith, food, music, nonsense and much more. I have even become published in a book by David Pogue from the New York Times because of Twitter. It can be a great tool if used wisely.

  12. Craig

    Just so you know, I had brunch today, about 10, it was Spaghetti with Ragu. It was delicious. And I’m gonna go twitter it right now.

    And I love how you use twitter. Like that day you were a non stop stream of wisdom quotes from the Ancient Church Fathers. I rewteet good stuff, and I spend lots of time thinking theology – so I post an occasional thought that overflows from the thinking and study.

    Other than that I fail to see how people would benefit by me saying, “I’m sitting on my couch typing” – 12 times a day – so maybe I still need to learn how to be a twexpert at it. Merry Christmas Rae.

  13. Calin

    Indeed, used accordingly Twitter is a great tool. Many of my friends dis-consider it and are laughing at me of being “hooked” but as you said I found many interesting people (including you ;) ) who helped me grow as a person. On the other hand, it is important to always clean up your base of followed people because sometimes they are not what you expected to be or even worse they are flooding your time line ( e.g. Guy Kawasaki).

  14. MyFeminineMind

    I think Twitter helps me feel like I’m a part of something. I’m a stay-at-home mom and I think I could feel like I was in my own little world all day, being with myself, a four-year-old, and a two-year-old for the majority of the day. I really love the other stay-at-home moms I follow. I really enjoy hearing about the cute things their kids said and did, or what they are making for supper, or how messy their house is, or whatever. Because that’s my life too, and I think it helps me appreciate those mundane, yet meaningful every-day moments.

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