I joined Twitter 4 years ago today. At first it was mainly to help co-promote the launch of the Age of Conversation. Like many business owners I was skeptical about this new messaging system and didn’t use it much to begin with.
I remember going to a PubCamp in Sydney hosted by Jed White (who later became a good friend) and being somewhat bemused by a team of people from Happener led by Markus Hafner (who later became a friend) all furiously tweeting from their laptops while speakers did their presentations. It all seemed a bit silly.
But inevitably I began using Twitter more and more. I remember Gavin Heaton (who has become a good friend) telling Gordon and me that it won’t be until you have at least 50 followers and are following at least that many that we’ll see the value in Twitter.
A big breakthrough came a year later when I went to my first #singleorigin coffee morning in Surry Hills and met a few of the people I’d been following, like Tiphereth (who became a good friend) that I started to value the human connections Twitter was unearthing. That night a STUB event was held at The Grace Hotel and it was like meeting the who’s who of my little Twitter universe. That night I met Mark Pesce, Stilgherrian, Malkuth, Maarinke and Gavin Costello (who’s name I actually thought was Frank Sting) amongst many others (it was a big night, some beers may have been spilled and the memories are slightly blurry). Quite a few of these people have become good friends.
Amazingly, this silly little messaging system started becoming a valuable business resource. My Newcastle-based agency began receiving enquiries from companies who had people following me on Twitter….from all over Australia. Suddenly I was doing business with Justine and Suzie (both who have become good friends).
What many business people see at a time-suck device became a key driver of new business for us. Doors were opening that had previously been closed, all due to some weird 140 character connection.
A subsequent trip to the USA became a much more interesting experience due to the people I met via Twitter and the advice and tips I received from followers as I traveled around. I had a great time at SXSW with Kevin Gawthrope, Beth Harte, Jed White (yeah him again), Guy Kawasaki and Gary Vaynerchuk, and caught up with a few of them again in San Francisco.
We launched a #newcastlecoffee tweet-up here in town that brought together a diverse range of people (way too many to mention, so check the list) with one thing in common, we connected on Twitter. A lot of great friendships formed.
Out for #newcastlecoffee came the Lunaticks events which attracts even more people for some great discussions and debate.
I see breaking news for the first time usually on Twitter. I discover useful new information, products and services on Twitter every week.
In short, what I had originally dismissed as a distracting fad has become very important to me both socially and commercially.
4 years and 34,000 tweets latter Twitter has changed a lot and the way I view and use Twitter has changed even more. But its due to all the people I have met and new friends I have made that I am glad I signed up four years ago today.
Thanks to everyone who said “hi” along the way.