Scrolling all the way back
Have you ever stood behind a Twitter power user? I have. Greer McDonald, Stuff's social media editor (she also writes an excellent wedding blog, if you are among the small number of people who read a blog about the internet and also have a healthy relationship) uses Twitter like crazy. At the time of writing she follows 5526 accounts, so her Twitter homescreen is a veritable blur, from what I've seen.
Where am I going with this? Greer obviously can't read all those tweets (I assume) but she still uses Twitter like mad. For her it is about what is completely current, not about what someone she followed did two or three hours ago. I'm generally the same: I follow 821 people and check Twitter throughout the day for current stuff. Sure, I occasionally scroll back a few hours, but I can't remember the last time I actually got to the day before. In other words, I don't read the tweets from when I was sleeping. Of course, I go on Twitter so many times in a day (something to read over breakfast? Twitter! Waiting for the bus? Twitter! On the bus? Actually a book, I'm kind of draconian there) that I still see a large numbert of the tweets. Tumblr is similar; though I do get through a whole lot of my dash, there are times when I have reached the night before.
People do read all this stuff though! My brother follows a small enough number of people on Twitter to easily scroll back to when he last checked it. I would make the argument that he cares much more about the people he follows, so he reads nearly everything they write. A friend of mine goes back through his entire Tumblr dashboard, and totally thought everyone else did that too. Do you guys?
* I do generally see most of the stuff on Facebook. I'm not subscribed to too many things and I have hidden all the people who post way too much stuff, so it's pretty easy to accidentally see content from days ago. Of course Facebook's algorithms work differently; I always see when something's super-popular on it because Facebook calls my attention to it, while Twitter/Tumblr are much more chronological.
** If you are a Star Wars/general politics fan - this is a great read.
*** I will never write a more engaging intro line than "Have you ever stood behind a Twitter power user?" But seriously, sorry about that.