As I sat on my bed, sipping coffee and scrolling on my phone for news from the 2019 Billboard Music Awards this morning; a curious landmark update dropped into my timeline. It was 8 years, the tweet told me, since I joined Twitter.
In early 2010 my childhood friend @rnvj encouraged me to join the platform ‘Facebook is where you meet people you went to school with. Twitter is where you meet people you wished you went to school with,’ he told me. So I got online, set up an account and tiptoed around the edges of conversations, unsure if I should join in. I gave the app three months tops, but I stayed much longer until 2011 when I finally found my groove.
In 2011, discovering you could connect with people you didn’t know through an app on your phone was genuinely life changing. For me, then discovering that you could meet them in real life ‘tweetups’ was even more amazing and I feel sad that the number of ‘tweetups’ I have attended over the years has diminished. How incredible it was that once a month you could meet with people that you had been interacting with online. Twitter was a place big enough to have a critical mass of people who cared about the place where they lived, the affairs of countries and celebrities with equal passion, and who wanted to see where this new technology would take us all together and as well as individuals.
I watched it all play out in my timeline, and it captures my attention till this day.
Seeing the real connections that I have made over twitter, started online and nurtured in real life at times, or even continuing on over 140 characters, reminds me why I love the platform so much. I have too many contacts, both professional and personal, people I legitimately care about and whose opinions matter to me, who live all over the world, with whom my primary interaction is/was through Twitter – these are people I never would have met without the network. It is still where a place where I can learn a lot about a lot. So while there are those who lament social media for it’s tendency to make us disconnect with one another, I look to hashtags and handles to show the power that social media, like Twitter, has to legitimately and authentically connect people. I can’t even talk about this without coming off sounding like a cliché, but for those of us who have experienced that, it is real and it is powerful. The last eight years has also cast the positive side of social media with the negative. Not everyone I’ve met online has been a beautiful person. But that is life.
So, thank you, if you’ve connected with me online or in real life. Your 140 characters, ideas and opinions make life interesting and rich. But if you’re reading this and we are still strangers, lets change that – follow me @sydneydxb and we’ll take it from there.
After eight years online, I believe twitter is a way of life – one that is well worth investing time in. So get a good healthy feed of what’s going on in the world and with the people you find interesting and soon you’ll find that it will become the first thing you check each morning.