I <3 “pointless babble”
About a month ago Pear Analytics presented a study about Twitter. The result showed that 40% of Twitter is “pointless babble”. A few days later the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter wrote an article about it. They brought the conclusion to an even higher level when they added the word “worthless” and the discussion in the Swedish social media bubble was a fact. I had my position clear, I like the babble and I think it is good.
During the last weeks I have been thinking of the babble and how much it actually means to me and how my life would have been without it. First of all, I have been social over the Internet since 1998 when I started using IRC (/me waves to #örebro@ircnet ;) ). The “pointless babble” in the irc-channels I have stayed in over the years have been huge. I have also played multi-player games which I probably wouldn’t have played if it wouldn’t have been because of the social factor. The “pointless babble” exist in a large scale even there, even though the gaming is in focus. The last years when being social over the Internet has become mainstream and got a new name called “social media” I have started to use services like Twitter as well, and the “pointless babble” continues of course.
So, why is this “pointless babble” so important?
Let me take this from the beginning. Being social is always about relations, so even if you want to call it social media it is actually relations and relationships you are talking about. And how do we build up relationships? Well, we can be boring and just talk serious shit, but do we get to know each other? No, it’s when we start with the “pointless babble” we get personal and when we get personal we are building relationships that last. And with relationships that last we get friends and are more likely to recognize each other further on. And people we know or recognize we are more willing to help out if they are in trouble or have questions.
Of course a social media like Twitter can’t be a flow of just intellectual information 24/7. We would all get headache. It’s just like at work, do you work for eight hours straight every day without any “pointless babble” whatsoever with your workmates? If that’s the case I don’t think you have any useful exchange of each other. And what’s the point with social media anyway if we don’t have any useful exchange of each other? And why would it be worthless to babble about “pointless” things over the Internet when we do it everywhere else?
For me personally the “pointless babble” has given me friends from whom I have learned a lot of useful things. I have built up relationships that I know and care about. I know who I can trust when it comes to fact, advices and serious discussions because I know the people I am discussing with. I have also got to know my best IRL (in real life) friends through the “pointless babble”, friends to share my interests with and to talk with about serious things and choices in life. Without the “pointless babble” I am pretty sure about that I would not have been the person I am today. I would probably have been more like an eremite.
So, first of all. Whoever at DN who called the “pointless babble” worthless information, I would like to have a chat with you.
Second, I love the “pointless babble”. I have been living with it for over ten years (my entire adult life) and it has probably formed me to a non-pointless person.
Third, can’t we just agree on that the babble isn’t pointless?