Today is my ten year Twitter anniversary. If my account was German it would by now have gone through Kindergarten and primary school and be starting in secondary school.
I could talk for hours what Twitter means to me, the friendships I have forged with the people I have met through it, the opportunities I have gained, the glimpses into other people’s lives and opinions, the #TwitLight, the miscellaneous accounts like the Tower Bridge or Big Ben or Pothos or Cat in the Sink or Micro SF/F, add in pictures of meaningful tweets and stats, but none of it would do it justice. I have used Twitter for longer than I have ever lived anywhere in one go, longer than I’ve been in one school or job, longer than most of my close friendships, longer than I think pretty much all things I own. It’s about a third of my life.
I remember the fail whale, the Google chat client, the time before it became a thing [also known as pre-Stephen Fry who still follows me, despite his frequent departures, as he followed everyone who followed him initially] and before hashtags were used that much, when pictures had to be posted on Twitpic or elsewhere, when people were annoyed about the Beliebers, the guy arrested in Africa who just tweeted ‘arrested’, the green profile images, and a lot more. I also remember the Plurks and the Jaikus and Pownce and other clones that thankfully never got anywhere.
A lot of people in the early days would ask me how I’d define Twitter and my answer from that hasn’t changed: Twitter is what you make of it. You can use it for news and follow news account. You can post replies to celebrities hoping they’ll notice you. You can use it, privately, with a small group of friends. You can use it to talk about certain topics only. It’s what you make of it which for me is an extension of myself. I tweet about things I talk to my friends about or discover or do. I take pictures of things I’ve made or seen or where I am. I talk politics, books, games, tv, whatever. I follow people I already knew and people I met through Twitter and Tweetups, people I met on gaming forums, people who live or lived near me, people whose opinions I like. It’s a bubble, but it’s my bubble.
I see people mentioning that Twitter has changed too much and that they don’t want to be using it any more which isn’t something I share. Twitter for me always has and will hopefully continue to be a resounding net positive and I hope those I follow feel the same.
Happy Twitter-Birthday to me. [Much better to remember today for that anyway, rather than the catastrophic triggering of article 50 to Brexit.]
If written about Twitter a lot over the years, including these main categories: