The title of this post is a reply I received on twitter from @JessTheChemist. We had been chatting about using the twitterverse to find articles for our research that were otherwise unattainable.
This sentiment is not new. If you don't tweet, it's really difficult to understand how a bunch of random sentences from mostly strangers can be useful. Lots of my colleagues at work (NESCent) tweet, and many others do not. A few NESCent folks from both camps were talking about this issue a few days ago. "I just don't see the use!" is a common argument.
My twitter philosophy is to cast a wide net. Follow folks if it seems like they might say something interesting. Grad students, post docs, professors, science writers, journals, bioinformaticists, and anyone else relevant to my professional interests. Knitters, friends, family, queers, advocates for sex positivity, and folks relevant to my personal interests. I then tweet what I'm thinking and what seems interesting to me. As a result, I describe reading my twitter timeline as walking into a huge party where everyone's talking about all sorts of things.
What do I get from spending time at a such a party? Up-to-date news from experts in their fields. A broadened perspective about many different issues from people I might otherwise not encounter. Learning where the fresh coffee and cookies can be found at a conference. Making new friends.
For me, that's more than worth the time and effort.