Paul and Twitter – Old Friends, New Friends and Endless Opportunity

17 May

I logged in to Twitter over lunchtime today and the first thing I saw was a familiar face smiling back at me from the ‘Who to follow’ box. That face belonged to Tom Page, a great friend and house mate throughout my time at Warwick Uni and part of the reason most of my First Year at is a memory black hole (but that, dear reader, is another story for another day). Sadly, I’d lost touch with Tom after graduation and had resigned myself to the fact I might not see him again, but suddenly there he was. I sent him a tweet and a few hours later we were talking on the phone, catching up on old times and what we’ve each done since leaving University. I find myself saying this a lot, but Twitter has been a string of near endless opportunities like this for me and this is the story I’ve been meaning to tell for a while. This is a story about Me and Twitter.

In the Beginning

To begin with I was very sceptical of Twitter, it struck me for a long time as being rather elitist due to the fact that you’re going to need a smartphone to get the most out of the platform. At the time, smartphones were not as numerous as they are now (and I didn’t have one), so I felt fairly confident in my opinions, until one day all that changed.

A Chance Meeting with Our Man Inside

Sometimes it’s a chance meeting with a stranger that helps us the most. The person who I always give full credit for changing my opinion of Twitter is Christian Payne, who I met by sheer good fortune through a mutual friend we have. I can’t speak highly enough of Christian, if you don’t already then I highl;y recommend that you follow him and any opportunity to hear him speak should never be passed-over. You can find his website here: Documentally.com.

Anyway, me and Christian got talking and he asked me what I did for a living. I told him I worked in PR and he immediately asked what my Twitter username was and looked shocked when I told him I didn’t have one. I’ll never forget what he said next: ‘then you won’t be as good at your job as you could be!’ I was shocked and a little offended and questioned him on what he meant. At great and fascinating length he began to tell me all the amazing opportunities that Twitter offered to PR professionals and all the doors it had opened up for him, the work he had got and the friends he had made. It was hard to argue with the case he was making and that same day I set up my Twitter account, which I ran using the web-based Twitter before finally getting a smartphone.

Without Twitter

I described earlier ‘a string of near-endless opportunities’ and the superlative soup was well justified. If I was to list all the amazing things that I’ve gained through engaging on Twitter this post would be huge, but here are some of the things I have Twitter to thank for:

Without Twitter I would not have learnt as much as I have about PR and met so many people facing similar challenges as me. Christian was right, if I hadn’t joined Twitter I would not be as good at my job as potential would allow. Thanks to the amazing people that I follow, I learn  new things every day and that is exciting.

Without Twitter, I would not have been able to be involved in so many interesting discussion with other people working in Local Authorities and in Social Care all over the country. There is a fabulous community to be found on Twitter in both areas and they have always treated me with nothing but kindness and warmth.

Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have had anywhere to complain that my phone was unlikely to last, on a single battery charge, for the duration of the March for the Alternative last year. I would not have been contacted by Sasha Taylor with the offer of borrowing a portable mobile recharger and therefore would have been unable to do the Audioboos that I did during the March. Sasha and I would not have become friends and collaborators; I would have not helped organise Warwick 4am project or BlueLightCamp and therefore I would not have met David White or John Bracey or Louise Matthews and we would not have been stood in Manchester gazing up at the International Space Station while Radiovicky captured the moment.

Without Twitter I may never have visited Tring and certainly have never met thinkingfox and had a fun visit to the natural history museum in the town. I would not have met Millymoo (who is a fabulous Orwell Prize shortlisted legal blogger) and Jules.

There is so much more I could list, but instead I will say thank you. To the people I follow who make Twitter fizz with potential and all the people I’ve chatted to, laughed with, met and will meet. You’re all awesome!

But really…

Twitter Doesn’t Matter

It’s just a tool people, it’s an amazing tool that started something, but it is just a tool. It’s People that matter. We matter. Twitter may one day not exist but, in my opinion, it has enabled a form of instant global communication, collaboration and sharing that will transcend it. I’m not excited by Twitter, the thought that every day I will wake up and learn something new, join a tribe or, who knows one day, maybe lead one.

Who to Follow

I’ve made some recommendations of people that I like to follow on Twitter, based on area of interest, you can read those posts below:

That Friday Follow Thing: Social Care and Health

Anyway, friends, you know the score, if you don’t like these thoughts then please do stick around, I have others.

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One Response to “Paul and Twitter – Old Friends, New Friends and Endless Opportunity”

  1. wibblesplat May 18, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    Great post Paul, I can relate and agree with a lot of what you say, although I don’t believe it’s as elitist and middle class as you think anymore. Most of the people in my timeline are decidedly working class… The beauty of Twitter is that it connects you to people you may never bump in to in real life, but who share a common interest, belief, sense of humour etc. it’s been said before (in a tweet): Facebook connects you with people who you know, Twitter connects you with people you should know… And it’s true }:o)

    Like

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