Why We Twitter
Jeanne McManus ["The Tedium is the Message," op-ed, Feb. 3] shared my wife's bewilderment over why so many people these days engage in the banal minutiae of social network chitchat such as we find on Twitter and Facebook. Why, Ms. McManus (and my wife) asks, should anyone care that she is scrambling an egg right now?
It's quite simple, really.
A growing number of us are doing so because we have become a nation of loners. Our bonds of friendship, neighborhood, family and community have been torn asunder by our sprawling, car-based, sterile, suburban lifestyles. Living without such bonds is incompatible with our sociable, convivial genetic heritage.
No one disparages the importance of the occasional "scrambling eggs, right now, Kathy" chitchat that has happened so much more often in the past over the picket fence. Sociologists recognize how such banal chatting builds and strengthens neighborliness and friendship.
Twitter and Facebook allow us to engage in virtual, cyber-based chatting over the picket fence. They fulfill a deep-seated human need - albeit in a less-that-ideal way.
Let us hope that we more fully return to the timeless neighborliness of our traditional towns and cities. And soon.
The writer is executive director of Walkable Streets, an organization advocating pedestrian-friendly community design.