Adult 641, Reflection Four

My Twitter Story

What I see when I log in

I was so inspired by Jon‘s story last week that I wanted to share my own Twitter story.

I joined Twitter in the beginning of 2009. I did not have a smart phone then, so everything was completely done via desktop or (eeep) text message. I don’t remember my first tweets (I am up to almost 8,000 on my main account now) but I’m sure I listed everything I was doing (“Today I went to the record store and Starbucks and then walked to the market”) because I hadn’t gotten the hang of it yet.

In July 2009, PJ & I traveled to North Carolina to go to XX Merge, a birthday celebration/festival for my favorite record label. We heard that festival attendees were going to be using the hashtag #xxmerge so we took to Twitter and began tweeting about our trip, from our first second in the car. We followed people who also used the hashtag. This music festival led us to making Twitter friends from up and down the east coast, including one gentleman from DC we see pretty regularly. We might not have met to these folks in real life had it not been for Twitter.

Since then, the number of my followers has increased due to the community of social media users in RVA. It seems like many of them are about the same age as me and have similar interests, but we just hadn’t met in real life yet. From Richmond, I know a farmer, a coffee roaster, a future weatherperson, several beer brewers,  a comedienne, a professional baker, and tons of musicians, bloggers and writers. This PLN I’ve built with Twitter has been essential to me: I can ask questions about all kinds of topics and get an answer. I have people to hang out with in most major US cities. My husband has a pretty big follower list (five times mine) and he uses Twitter to promote his photo blog, to talk to bands about hiring him, and to interact with other photographers.

I’ve used Twitter to promote my short-lived Etsy shop, to dissipate information about VCU Summer Studies, to write about TV and pop culture and to connect with other students in the Adult Learning program.

Lindsey’s infographic was quite alarming to me–I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that most of Twitter’s users were not teenagers! It seemed that they thought it was more for promotion than socializing or learning, which I don’t see at all.

I think the vastness of Twitter, even though there’s a character limit, is very intimidating to new users. Even though I used the service frequently for personal activity, I had to make lists of potential tweets when I started using it for work. I could not think of what to write!

Putting yourself on the searchable Internet is very scary. Everything you say on Twitter, unless your account is private, is searchable. And even private tweets can be seized.

_________________________________

I’ve also had some time to reflect more on my experiment with unplugging. While I enjoyed it, unplugging for more than one weekend at a time is unrealistic for me. As long as I am in school and/or working, I just can’t fully disconnect from the Internet. And since I can’t afford long relaxing vacations (we’re city travelers anyway), I will have to do my unplugging in short bursts when I can get away. I also really missed my friends that weekend–that’s how I interact with so many of them.

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12 thoughts on “Adult 641, Reflection Four

  1. You and PJ are just so cool!! 🙂 I’m still struggling a little with Twitter (technological difficulties, mainly). But I’m hoping things will become better soon. I definitely see the value in putting questions out there and receiving quick answers/feedback. And I like the brevity which Twitter enforces. The main thing that’s frustrating to me right now is the whole hashtag issue (i.e. my posts not showing up), and the fact that conversations appear somewhat disjointed (since they aren’t threaded, or at least not in the normal fashion).

  2. What is it, do you think, that has made Richmond a hot spot for social media? Is it the concentration of ad agencies, the 800 pound Gorilla being The Martin Agency? Or is there something else that is making RVA suddenly so hip?

    • Good question Joanne! I think there are a lot of reasons, the Martin Agency included.
      * art school/colleges
      * creative population outside of the school (musicians, writers, etc)
      * sense of community amongst all these folks
      * other little things, like having important local “celebrities” like Gene Cox and Filthy Richmond embrace social media–making other people want to be a part of it (we’re kind of a town of followers, too)
      * companies like tumblr setting up offices here which make everyone more excited

  3. Thanks for asking that Joanne, I was wondering what it was about Richmond that made it a hot spot for social media. (Although I think it’s always been pretty cool!)

    I really enjoyed your story. I amazed at how many followers you have and your story. I have 11 followers right now..haha!

    • You are up to 15 now, boundless (and I am one of them)…but the key is not the number, it is selectively adding people that you find engaging (and not being afraid to prune out those you do not). It is one of the reasons I only follow about half of the folks who follow me.

      • On my private one I have almost 300!! Hey ohhhhh.
        Yes I think it’s important to only have a network of people with whom you regularly interact because it becomes so unwieldy and you can’t catch up! I definitely had that problem early on.

    • I was toying with the idea of merging my private twitter with my school/professional one but I like the idea of controlling who sees what and it gives me more motivation to work on them.
      Richmond is just super cool.

  4. Pingback: Reflective Workspace » 9/23/12

  5. Enjoyed reading about your “twitter story” I think anyone who has tried twitter has one of these. There are similarities among them…it seems. When someone has a strong virtual connection and then meets these connections in person it just sends it over the top. You get hooked…and sometimes it seems like this feeds more interaction in this medium. I know this is dualistic and over simplified, but I often wonder if the virtual space we occupy levels the playing field among the introverts and extroverts. What do you think?

  6. Thanks for sharing your story. The connections that you make are extraordinary. I think that I will find Twitter a good way to cross the hurdles of social awkwardness. I have perfected my small talk skills as a result of being a teacher, however, I love how I can create relationships through Twitter. I have one that’s suddenly emerged with someone local. I have know this woman from afar, but have never spoken with her until this month-if the opportunity arises, I will be “so there” in terms of how to jump right into a conversation. I am excited about the possibilities that will arise in the future!

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