All of a Twitter

Five years ago today, I opened what I refer to as my “personal” Twitter account – I feel like I owe the internet an apology, but #sorrynotsorry is actually more appropriate.  I’m inching closer to 36,000 tweets via that handle and have 181 followers (a good percentage of which are probably spambots that I haven’t weeded out), but I don’t have a number for the importance that Twitter has in my life.

During the past five years, I’ve used the site to gather information, connect with established friends and find new ones, and discover all sorts of things.  I’m absolutely in the camp who believe that Twitter is now one of the world’s best news services: as a live, publically-populated micro-blogging site without a filter, it’s sometimes the most efficient way to follow current events.  Of course sometimes, the world gets carried away or barks up the wrong tree – this is what happens when you’re not waiting on mass media conventions such as double confirmation – but given the volume of users and traffic it supports, Twitter doesn’t often get it wrong.

Those of us who’ve been around for longer than a few minutes have, of course, experienced frustrations – you may remember the #failwhale if you experienced Twitter pre-server move – but with my physical network of friends and interests increasingly scattered across the globe, it’s a service I value highly.

Particular highlights during my five years as a Tweeter have included:

  • winning tickets to Hummingbird Bakery’s opening/Christmas preview party in Spitalfields for myself and a plus one


  • having one of my Tweets discussed by Aggers and the TMS team live on air during the Boxing Day Test of 2010 (and yes, some of my Twitter friends were listening and congratulated me in the appropriate manner – via Twitter)

When I started my blog, it wasn’t a question for me of whether or not I’d link it to Twitter, but of finding an appropriate username on both my blog’s host site and Twitter in order to have a coherent brand name.  Both accounts continue to be important to me, although my usage of my “personal” five-year old account has dwindled recently in favour of my blog’s Twitter (and because it’s spring and there’s nothing good on TV).

Despite having been at it for almost a year, I feel like my blog’s Twitter account is still growing into itself, but it has been incredibly useful for building links and bonds – the immediacy of the service and ability to spread a message has again proven critical.  I’ve read a little into how other bloggers use Twitter to push their websites forward, which has been useful in starting to help me grow, and I’ve given in to the idea of using pre-set Tweets so that even if I’m not available, my blog and Twitter accounts can work for me – with a little help from HootSuite – to soldier on without me.

Nobody could have known what Twitter would become when it first began, years before I was aware of it, but it continues to grow and positively impact the lives of users everywhere.  For those who understand it, it’s a powerful tool and valuable resource in promotion and keeping up with news – whether it’s politically important or trashy gossip.  And to those who have yet to be converted, you don’t know what you’re missing (hint: free cupcakes, pictures of what people are eating for dinner, and my vitally important opinions of everything from Aldi adverts to sporting events).

Twitter welcomed me with open arms five years ago, and there’s no way I’m leaving any time soon.


3 thoughts on “All of a Twitter

  1. I told my husband that Twitter is Facebook for smart people. Don’t get me wrong, I have a FB account and I’m not giving it up, but I love being able to have access to news that wouldn’t count as news in the mainstream press. I first got on Twitter because I watched a webinar for educators and the speaker was talking about his class in the US getting to Skype with a young female (lawyer I believe) who had been an eye-witness to the uprising in Egypt. His students got FIRSTHAND accounts from someone on the ground as history was being made. They found her through using a hashtag (which I now don’t remember). HIs admonition was to just get an account and then try it out. So I did. I haven’t done anything spectacular with it for educational purposes–yet.

    THEN the REAL fun began when I realized there was a whole universe of fellow horse lovers on Twitter! And dog owners. And favorite authors and speakers. And so I went from trying it out for my “profession” to adopting it for my passions. And then I met you and all the other kind folks from #horsehour. And I’ve been having a social media blast with Twitter ever since. Maybe someday when I grow up I’ll have sent 36K Tweets.

    • It does connect people in a brilliant way: your point reminds me that I meant to compare Facebook to Twitter, but totally forgot! I’ve had a Facebook account for about two years longer (and deactivated it for a year at one point) and it’s gone a completely different route to how it was when it started. Facebook used to be a little like Twitter as it had the groups function to easily find people with similar interests and have discussions, but I don’t find that the pages they’ve developed does the same thing.

      But Twitter is just free conversation – make the most of hashtags, because I keep seeing stories (though don’t know how true they are) that they are potentially being scrapped. If you ever need a lesson in the power of Twitter, have a read of this phenomenal story:

      My 36k isn’t something to be proud of! It’s mostly an online version of me shouting at the TV – ha!

  2. Pingback: Absent friends | Kicking On

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