My Twitter Story
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.