This morning one of those bot things told me that it was my fifth birthday on Twitter. I knew I’d been boring people with 140 character shaped nonsense for a while, but I didn’t realised I’d been doing it for five years.
My first tweet, back on the 22nd of May 2008 at 10:25am, perhaps indicated the type of stuff I’d be saying for years to come…
“wishing I was on the beach now that my new beach dress has arrived. On the seventh day God created eBay.”
Why didn’t I use a capital letter at the beginning of my sentence? I joined Twitter with a grammatical error within THE FIRST CHARACTER. This is something that will probably keep me awake later. Shame.
But clearly I was doing the same shiz I do now – dreaming of being on holiday whilst talking about dresses and online shopping. Not much has changed.
Going through my tweet archives my first days of tweeting were a heady mix of baking, property news, inflation rate debate and weather complaints. My fourth ever tweet, on the 28th of May 2008, was one describing what I was wearing…
“looks like a kindergarten teacher in her outfit today.”
Perhaps I was always destined to rabbit on about clothes.
By the 11th of June 2008 I was coming into my own, sharing pics like this…
…and we all cooed over the pig with a phobia of mud.
Within a month of joining Twitter I found myself hanging out with the founders of billion dollar company Zappos.com.
Yeah, that was surreal.
In the Twitter land of 2008 it felt like we all knew each other, maybe nostalgia is playing tricks on my mind (to quote Sir Alex) but I’m certain I ‘knew’ all the people on Twitter in London. There were meet ups where you basically met all the other London Twitterers.
Could that happen now? Well as there are more than 10 million active Twitter users in the UK these days and London is the third most active Twitter city in the world (behind Jakarta and Tokyo), I think we’d struggle to find a bar that would hold us all. God knows who’d pick up the tab.
I’ve always been fascinated by social networks, I can’t thank my parents enough for trusting me to use the internet ‘safely’ from being a child. (I appreciate it would be very different now). I grew up wanting to have a groovy GeoCities ‘site’, the coolest MySpace page, the best OpenDiary blog…and then, just like everyone else, I wanted to be ‘good at Twitter’.
Usually though, your interest in a social network declines with time. A better one comes along, your mates are all nattering somewhere else, it’s suddenly painfully embarrassing to even have an account with said network etc etc.
But in five years my love for Twitter has never changed.
I closed my FB profile last year (I still have a public ‘page’ here) and I started a small profile which I don’t really use at all except for speaking to my mum and sister, but I’ve never considered leaving Twitter. I’ve had periods of quiet time on Twitter (nobody ever notices you’ve stopped tweeting btw, so do yourself a favour and don’t melodramatically announce your ‘return’ to Twitter a few weeks later), but I’ve never considered closing my account.
I have achieved endless things because of tweeting. Twitter is still one of the largest drivers of traffic to WIWT.com, a business I was only able to set up because of an idea that spread through – yep, you guessed it – Twitter. Twitter has enabled me to market my business, my sense of humour, my opinions, my style and my writing to literally millions of people. I’ve been able to work with brands from teeny tiny boutiques and emerging designers to global giants like Vodafone, Universal Pictures and Unilever, often solely because somebody has found me on Twitter. I’ve never once paid a PR agency, but have appeared in nearly all the mags and papers of this country for something or other…again, often simply because of journos following me on Twitter or someone recommending me via Twitter to a journalist who otherwise would never have found me. I know this isn’t your ‘usual’ Twitter experience, but it’s one I’m massively grateful for and lord knows I’ve put a LOT of time into tweeting to make it happen. I didn’t have ANY contacts in fashion, tech or property when I started in each of these industries…but I made sure I made them using Twitter.
I’m not intentionally doing it 99% of the time (seriously, I don’t mention the fact I feel sick from swallowing lake water because I think I’m going to get a job out of it), but with every tweet we’re all marketing ourselves. We’re networking, enabling ourselves to be found, influencing and being influenced.
I initially joined Twitter to try and promote the property website I worked for and to network with more property professionals in the US, but as much as the business benefits of Twitter have been very real to me, it’s not the side of Twitter that has joyed me so much over the years.
Twitter is amazing because it’s let me be entertained by the funniest people in the world for FIVE YEARS, for free.
Yes, I’ve ‘done my bit’ for the Twitter ecosystem and added thousands of my own one-liners into the mix, but I didn’t have to. Twitter doesn’t make you tweet, you can just sign up and be entertained by everybody else if you want. I know plenty of people who check Twitter every day but “have nothing worth tweeting” themselves. My family read every single thing I tweet (I have literally no idea why they put themselves through that embarrassment) yet none of them have Twitter accounts. I don’t want to pay for Twitter as it’s free, but blimey I would pay for it. I’d pay a lot for it.
Twitter is what you make of it, if you follow a bunch of Z list slebs that can barely string a sentence together then you may not find it massively interesting…other than for the odd feeling of knowing they’re watching the same drivel on telly as you are. If you follow the right people, the funny and smart people who aren’t whining about headaches or offending everyone every time their fingers hit the keys, it’s the best thing in the world.
And my god, if you work from home or work on your own or hate the people you work with – it’s like having a massive bunch of mates everywhere you go. Even if you’re not in conversation with the people you follow, it can be a joy just to be reading what they’re up to.
Finding the news stories worth reading, meeting like minded people, watching astronauts sing to you….Twitter is great.
Last night I swam in a lake in Reading which I’d heard about on Twitter, with someone I’d met through Twitter, in a wetsuit from a shop recommended to me on Twitter, to train for charity swim events which have already raised nearly £1500 through Twitter.
I’d say that most of the time I’m doing something, wearing something or eating something which has been influenced by Twitter.
These are just SOME of the wonderful things I’ve done solely because of Twitter…
- Found places to live.
- Found jobs.
- Learnt. A lot.
- Bothered to understand important things because someone has found all the best articles for me
- Made amazing friends.
- Watched TV with hundreds of people.
- Found love.
- Known the best places to eat/shop and drink in every city in the world.
- Read brilliant books.
- Watched wonderful movies.
- Discovered new music.
- Found great recipes
- Seen ALL THE FUNNY YOUTUBE VIDEOS EVER
Of course there’s negatives with Twitter too, I’ve been trolled a plenty and listened to strangers say bizarrely cruel things to me, but a block button makes that go away and is just indicative of the fact that there are a fair few nutters with access to computers.
It’s been a bloody great five years. And I suspect it will be another five years of just as much awesome.
THANK YOU to all the 937 people I follow on Twitter for making it the best social network ever. And thank you to all those who follow me and entertain me each day with witty comebacks or answer my pleas for advice or just generally encourage me with whatever odd project I’ve decided for five minutes will be a good idea.
I feel like I’ve said Twitter a lot in this post. TWITTER.
And if you don’t follow me, I guess I should take the opportunity to suggest you do – @PoppyD.
Happy Twitter Birthday, me!