Jul 20, 2011

Happy Two Year Twitterversary to Me

Moments Later...Two years ago today, I was a fresh-faced college graduate with a dumbphone and an interview for a job as a social media marketing intern. I figured I should get to know this Twitter thing if I was going to be doing it full time, so I signed up. I followed a few of the suggested users and friends, and tweeted cryptic references to my ware-abouts.

About six months later, I was frustrated that I still didn’t have a job in my field. I loved the people I worked with as social media intern, but I didn’t go to school to market mortgages. I decided that if I could make social media work for the nicheiest niche market in the whole world, I could make it work for me.

That’s when I decided to take Twitter seriously. No more tweets about my sandwich, no siree.

I made a list of all the Christian publishing houses I could find on Twitter, and I watched their feeds, looking for any way I could make a personal connection. One day, @TyndaleHouse said something along the lines of: “I’m out for the weekend, but you can follow me at my personal account, @ChristyWong”. From that moment, I became Christy’s Twitter-stalker. (Hi Christy. I’m not sure you know this. So, um, glad we’re friends. 🙂 ) Christy gave me a list of Tyndale tweeters, and a few weeks later, I found @AdamSab, who’s also in the marketing department at Tyndale. He and I started trading Twitter strategies, and when a job opened up in his department, he suggested I apply.

That’s the story of how Twitter got me a job.

But I would have loved it anyway.

Since then, I’ve been through two smart phones (really the only way to make Twitter a major part of your life), I’ve gained a couple hundred followers, and I’ve carved out a place in the Twitterverse.

Twitter changed the way I use the Internet. It’s become how I communicate with friends, and it’s how I learn…everything. If I were to make a list of my favorite things in this world, Twitter would fall somewhere below my cat and somewhere above peanut butter cupcakes. This is serious.

So Twitter, by way of a thank you, here are a few of my favorite things about you:

1. Twitter has made me a better writer.

I delete about a half a dozen tweets a day. Why? Because these last two years on Twitter have taught me that if I write something totally inane, like what I’m eating for lunch, or about how my feet hurt, than no one cares. No one will react. I’ll get no retweets or faves or anything. Twitter’s all about positive reinforcement. I’ve found that if I make a story about of the bland occurrances  in my life, I can get a reaction. It sort of reminds me of that time in junior high when I figured out that if I told funny one-liners, I’d get attention.

Twitter’s also helped me trim the junk from my writing. You may have noticed a bunch of sos and howevers andanywayses on this blog-o-mine. There’s no room for that in a tweet. There’s no room for any excess baggage, so every word in every tweet must be important.

2. Twitter tells the best stories

I said before that Twitter made me a better writer. Now let me apply that generally: Twitter makes better writers. I follow around 500 people, and almost all of them are capable of producing 140-character-or-less gold. I am absolutely delighted by tweets every day. It’s amazing the power that these people are able to put in to such a small space. Check my list of favorites for a few recent good ones.

3. Twitter made it OK to talk to strangers

(inspired by @brokeandbookish)

I’m not the sort of person to rush out and tap a stranger on the shoulder, throwing a compliment or question their way, but on Twitter, I do that every day. In fact, only a handful of the people I talk to every day are people I’ve ever met in real life. There’s a depth and richness to my feed that I wouldn’t get if I limited it to the people I’ve actually met.

On Twitter, a professional anything is within reach at all times. The very fact that they have a public profile means that they want to talk to you. I get expert opinions on grammar, translation, ebooks, gardening, technology, nerdery, anything, and they’re always given in a spirit of good will.

4. Twitter brings out the best (and worst) in people

(inspired by @pulptone)

The people I follow in Twitter are smart, funny, and interested in everything. And, since they’re so smart and funny, they make everything interesting. In these last two years, I’ve learned more information faster than in the whole rest of my life.

I have had very few bad experiences on Twitter. Very few of those false notes in communication that make me wish I could start the day over again. (I contrast this with Facebook, where I have a false-note experience almost daily.) Now, this isn’t to say that everyone on Twitter is on their best behavior all the time. I have a strict policy of Jerk Unfollowing. If you persist in being mean or petty on Twitter, I unfollow you. This keeps my stream bright and shiny and full of useful information. I recommended it.

5. Twitter makes me feel like part of a community

I’ve always had semi-obscure interests. Ok, maybe they’re not that obscure, but for a kid in the suburbs in the midwest in the 90s, there wasn’t much talk of any kind of literature that wasn’t PowerRanger-related. I just got used to it.

It got a little better in high school, and a little better still in college, but for the first time in my life, I can throw out a tweet saying “Betsy Tacy?” and get three or four responses of “Don’t forget Tib!” There is always someone to talk to, and they’re ready to talk about whatever subject you can think of. These funny little conversations turn into friendships, and all of a sudden, you have a cozy little corner of the Internet to call home.

6. Twitter makes me feel omniscient

This happens every twenty minutes or so:

“Hey, Jess, did you hear…”

“About the thing? Yeah. Like, yesterday. It was on Twitter.”

Nothing happens without the Internet knowing about it, and nothing happens on the Internet without Twitter knowing about it. As long as you choose carefully who you follow, you’ll never miss a headline. I’ve followed natural disasters, concerts, conferences, cooking, tech announcements, and even sporting events. (Ok, I don’t follow sporting events so much as I can’t avoid them, but I’m really glad that the women’s soccer team had fun on Sunday. Or whatever.)

But really, I meant it when Twitter changed the way  I use the Internet. I used to spend a certain amount of time every day visiting the same websites. I had a little ritual that I’d follow: get a cup of coffee, scroll down my favorites, check for new content, read, refresh, close laptop. It was nice, but it was very closed. Twitter opened up a whole world of information. I get a much more balanced view because I’m not just reading one news site for opinions. I’m reading opinions curated by people I respect, so I’m not just getting more information, I’m getting better information.



So there’s my little love letter to Twitter. I’ve tried to keep it short. I tend to gush when Twitter comes up.

Happy Twitterversary to me. I do accept gifts.

What’s your favorite thing about Twitter?








  • Happy Twitterversary to you!
    My favorite thing is that you’re on it, and I don’t have to be. I now accept need to find somthing interesting and obscure that you don’r know about …yet!

    Love you, bye!

  • Happy Twitterversary! 😀

    I love all these things about Twitter too. 🙂 Especially the part where I can build relationships with perfect strangers and have conversations with fascinating people I’d probably never encounter in person. Also, I like how Twitter makes me know everything. I hear myself saying “Oh, I saw it on Twitter” all the time. And I think it’s interesting to watch news trickle across Twitter and then on to Facebook, email, tv, and finally in face-to-face conversation. Modern life is so, so cool. 🙂

    More favorite things: how Twitter has helped me find my niche. I started the grammar account because what with PhD wackiness, I didn’t have time to blog about grammar any more–140 characters was about all I could muster energy for. I thought maybe some people would be interested and I’d meet some interesting people. I didn’t know I would find MY PEOPLE, and that the grammar thing would take off (basically on its own) far beyond my own half-formed imaginings. Twitter has put me in a community with hundreds of likeminded people, and it’s something that makes me happy every day. 🙂

    That’s the other favorite thing: the people. It’s my job to be knowledgeable about grammar, writing, and language, but the intelligent, funny, clever, experienced members of my Twitter world always teach me something new and make me think about old things in different ways. It’s special. 🙂

    I will send you a present, as soon as I figure out what’s appropriate for the second anniversary of social network membership. Is there a list somewhere? Have you registered? 🙂

  • I’m excited twitter exists because I found you and you work here and you make me hats.

  • I JUST found this post! I have a Google alert on myself & I’m surprised that it didn’t catch this! Thank you for being my Twitter stalker that I now know in real life. I’m pretty glad you work here too & that I indirectly played a role in making that happen. Yay, Twitter!

  • Well – your sis is helping me finesse my Twitter skills – I have yet to appreciate it’s fineries. My thoughts – being in the public every day with work – I hunger to be obscure. Also – I am not a fan of Tweet-markting. I want real conversation. And yet, part of my job is to engage with social networking bigtime to…well, market. If I wasn’t a part of a public medium – radio – would I Tweet at all? Back and forth, back and forth. nyah.

    So for me – I am finding my Twit-self..ooooo that didn’t sound right. Well, Liz is renewing my vision for the big T.

    Congrats on your lovely anniversary of July 20!

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