March 25, 2010 – Why do I remember this date? It was the day of my FIRST tweetup, #TwestivalTO (@TwestivalTO). What has happened in the past year? What has Twitter done for me? I wish I could put that into words. What I hope to do in this post is give you a glimpse of how things have changed. To give you a frame of reference, here is a graph of my Twitter activity in March 2010, prior to attending #TwestivalTO:
When I walked into Tryst nightclub that night, I didn’t even know what the word #tweetup meant! I had no idea what to expect when I arrived knowing one person – Joallore (@clickflickca). Now if you know only one person, he is a good person to know. He has been participating in Social Media related events for a long time and knows a lot of people. He is gracious with introductions and disarming when meeting new people. These are all skills that I have improved on in his company during the last year.
I just attended my 2nd #TwestivalTO on March 24, 2011. At this point, I have sent almost 15,000 tweets and I have just over 1,200 followers. I had less than 100 of both on March 25, 2010! Have a look at these graphs! One shows my tweets by month since I joined Twitter and the other shows my activity in March 2011 as a comparison to the graph above.
Do I know what I am “doing” now? I would say, I have a better idea, but like Twitter itself, the role that it plays each day in my life changes. Do I tweet more now, “Yes”. I like the interaction and conversation that I have with people on Twitter. I miss the conversation when I am “offline”. It adds to the interactions that I have during the day, so just like talking over coffee with a co-worker, Twitter is something that I can do while I watch TV, have a coffee, watch a ballgame or listen to some tunes.
During the past year, people who are not on Twitter have asked me what I tweet about. I usually say, “Whatever comes to mind”. I get to talk about whatever is on my mind on Twitter and usually I can find a like-minded audience to share in the conversation. The topic could be coffee, beer, BBQ, grilling, food, recipes, baseball, hockey, vacations, movies, music. The topics are endless and the support network is vast.
What I love about Twitter is that if you need information on a faraway place, you send it out and sure enough someone will tweet back with a resource for a restaurant or an all-night photocopy place! If you are having a bad day you send out a tweet for “+” vibes and your feed lights up with messages of support and good thoughts. You wake up on your birthday and your feed is alive with endless birthday wishes that stream in from Twitter friends around the globe! You put an idea for dinner or a get-together out there and suddenly you have 10+ people signed up to try a restaurant. The connections are personal and they have far-reaching potential.
I am now glad to include amongst my friends fellow foodies, movie fanatics, social creatures and sports fans. We have come together over the past year via various events and introductions and now see each other on a regular basis. These are all positive changes. These people are smart, funny and educated in a number of ways. Most of them are skilled professionals that share an interest in something that I like doing. There are also a number of people who I interact with regularly that I have yet to meet. I hope that 2011 gives me the opportunity to visit some of these people and meet with them, “In Real Life” (#IRL). It is always fun to finally put a face to a personality that you have talked with on Twitter.
How do I see Twitter? I see it as something that is fun and exactly what you make of it. It can be a social tool, a business tool, a marketing tool or all of those things. You can connect with every type of person on a number of levels via the “conversation” that is happening. I try to be myself on Twitter and I try to stay true to some guiding principles for myself (eg: minimal swearing). Do I tweet often, yes, but I also like to talk a lot. I am an extrovert and a social creature by nature. I always have been. Twitter lets me get out and talking to people even if I am on a coffee break, in a shopping mall or sitting in a foreign city.
I have shared in the joy of a tweep celebrating the birth of a new child. I have seen the pictures of people’s vacations and have seen twitpics of meals that I must go and try! Some of the food that people find is absolutely amazing! No matter how silly it seems I also love it when people share twitpics of sunsets and sunrises! The world is full of fantastic photographers and seeing a gorgeous sunset is just a nice addition to any day, in my books. I have shared my memories and photos from various roadtrips and vacations, as they happened. Why not, one of the first questions people you haven’t seen for a while ask is, “What’s new?”. The saying is that, “A picture is worth 1,000 words”, isn’t it?
Twitter has given me the opportunity to go to San Francisco (#VXToronto, @virginamerica), try multiple restaurants in and around Toronto, meet new people in Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener and points in between (@TWestofTO, #RandomTO, #JaysTO). I have shared thoughts on movies and the #Oscars, the #Grammys, bonded over the Olympics (#Van2010reunion, #Vancouver2010) and even organized an event to celebrate the survival of a #BlackBerry taking a “swim”!! (#BeerDunk2010). I also organized an event in October 2010 (#FeedYourDragon), with my friends at Mickey’s Pizza (@FeedYourDragon), that helped raise over $200 for the World Food Program(@WFP) and taught us all how to make some of the best pizza we have ever eaten!!
There are loads of people who have guided me on the path in the past year, but the one that organized the majority of the events that I went to was @clickflickca (Jo). We are old friends, but after the last year I think that we are now good friends. Without his energy and enthusiasm for connecting people the graphs that I have included in this post would not look the way that they do. My thanks to you, my friend, for the guidance you provided even if you didn’t realize it.
I look forward to what the next 12 months on Twitter will bring. I am hoping that I can find a way to make Social Media part of my career and daily life. I enjoy it that much. How that is going to come together, I am not sure but I am working on it (if you would like to help me in this endeavour, get in touch with me via email or twitter, please). I am sure that the #tweetups will continue as the number of things to do in Toronto and Southern Ontario is endless!! Where we go next, who knows!! I am sure it will be a blast and I look forward to it (and tweeting about it)!!
Note: Please visit – Tweetstats if you like the graphs that are included here. They run an awesome website!
I find this stuff interesting and if you do, here is a TweetCloud of my first year on Twitter (via Tweetstats):