Heading home on the tube last week, looking over someone’s shoulder, I briefly caught a glimpse of an Evening Standard article talking about Twitter, and it possibly replacing Facebook. It then went on to describe the authors failed experience of trying to use Twitter, and his rejection of it because he couldn’t get it to work.
It reminds me of my experience of when I first heard about Twitter, and what happened, when I first decided to take a look. My first response was, I’m not going to tell everyone about my personal life, and chose then and there not to use twitter, and that it was for other people.. Heck, I didn’t even update my Facebook Status updates, why would I use a tool where I would just be updating my status all day?? It really didn’t make any sense, and I saw no reason to even begin to engage with this foolishness..
How little did I know..
Many months later, I happened to attend one of London’s Geek Dinners, where Moo were presenting, and happened to end the night, standing in a conversation with a group of people that were all friends. They shared their experiences of meeting people they had been in conversation with, over twitter, and the whole experience of having online friends, who they started to meet in real life. It made me reminiscence of my youth, when watching TV, I would imagine what it would be like being a “geek” and having friends who knew me by my handle (my online nickname), and here I was meeting people in real life, who lived that dual personality.
So, spurred on by the thought of being able to at last have my online persona (of magitam) come to life, and knowing that there were people who I now knew, who I could connect with through Twitter, and start to stay connected with them, I started to use Twitter.. ..
That evening I left that event, with the contact details of those few friends I’d made, inspired by the conversation, and the idea of meeting people in person, who you already knew online.
Fast forward, 6 months, and I’m a firm advocate of Twitter… Not only do I believe it to be of great use, I think it’s invaluable, in sharing thoughts, disseminating information, and also to just gain a “loose” awareness of what friends, family, colleagues, associates, and your general twitter community are upto.
Whilst it might seem trivial to fill twitter with what you ate, or what you did, it’s strangely satisfying to be able to share what you’re doing with people who know you. Equally it starts to become the start of “conversations” that allow you to find others that share similar ideas.. It lets you reach out and connect to more people.
Most importantly, it gives you an extension of the “Office Water Cooler”. The informal conversations that happen spontaneously in passing.. Those chance encounters where you can never foretell or predict what might be said, or what choice piece of information might be communicated! It’s these “choice” encounters that make for really interesting, unplanned, unexpected, but potential synchronicities for me that make it all the more worthwhile.
Aside from the water cooler effect, Twitter also has become a solid bit of support, and community for me.. As much as it would be great to have a diverse, and varied group of friends, who had similar interests, and were a mixed and varied group, sometimes I just don’t have the physical time to spend with people interested in each of those different areas. It’s now possible to have many of those interactions in my virtual world, which helps re-inforce my interests, and means that me in person conversations are already a step further along, than they would be otherwise.. It’s great to be able to know about what folks are upto, and be able to stay current, interested and engaged with many people, without having to be always calling them and asking them!
So now turning the tabkes for a second onto you the reader, I’d like to ask you to answer the following question: – Why do you use twitter? What do you get out of it?
If you don’t yet use twitter, then why don’t you use twitter?
Do share your thoughts, and insights in the comments below, or write your own blog post about why you use twitter, and be sure to trackback to here, so I know about it :)
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