Every now and then I say something I immediately regret. Today was one of those days.
While scanning my Twitter feed this afternoon I came across a website supposedly looking for contributors. Unfortunately I never found out if it was true because as soon as I opened the website I had to close it again. It was hideous. (And no, I’m not posting the link here. Let’s just say it’s for your own good).
One of my Twitter friends builds websites for a living, and so I sent her a message along the lines of “Is it just me, or is this site really bad?” and included the link.
A few minutes later she wrote back: “Umm, I designed it”.
When I saw her reply I actually felt sick. Hurting a stranger’s feelings is bad enough (although I’m yet to ask a woman who isn’t pregnant when her baby’s due). But to hurt a friend’s feelings is just awful. I quickly sent back an apology, and hoped the earth would quickly swallow me whole.
A few minutes after that, she sent me another message:
“When I was 3 years old. Ha! Isn’t it revolting?”
Yep, she was joking. No harm done (apart from my life expectancy being reduced by a few years). It took quite a while for the sickening feeling to subside, but the good news is we’re still friends.
Now here’s what I find truly amazing about the whole thing: we’ve never actually met. All our chatting has been online. And yet I was devastated when I thought I’d hurt her feelings.
Such is the power of Twitter.
I joined up a couple of years ago, but quickly gave up on it. It seemed pretty stupid at the time. You write what you’re doing/thinking, and people follow you to see what you wrote. You can also follow other people and see what they’ve written. Big deal.
Then about a year ago a friend I’ve known for years convinced me to give it another go. I promised myself I’d give it a chance for a week or two, and then see if it was worth the effort.
To begin with it was just as boring the first time around. But then I started chatting with people, and finding new people to follow. And then it hit me: Twitter is all about conversations. It was just like the chat rooms I used years ago (and where I ended up meeting my wife), only better. By the end of the two weeks I was hooked.
And I’ve been on it ever since.
In the past year I’ve “met” a lot of great people on Twitter. Most are what I’d call casual acquaintances—we catch up every so often for a chat (and usually a laugh), but then might not catch up again for days or even weeks.
But a lot of them are now good friends of mine, and we catch up a lot more often (sometimes even in person). We share ideas and information. We laugh at the world, and at ourselves. And we cheer each other up when we’re a down.
Then there are those I consider very close friends. We’ve shared not only ideas and information but also our hopes, our dreams and ourselves. We’ve been there to help each other through the dark times, and to celebrate the successes. These are the friendships I cherish the most, and ones I hope will still be going long after Twitter has given way to The Next Big Thing. (Not that I want it to.)
It’s reached the point where I can’t imagine life without it. (Actually I can. I just have to think back to the last time Twitter was out of action.) It’s like an endless party, and all the people I’ve invited are just great to be around. (One of my closest Twitter friends and I even wrote a piece about the whole party idea.)
To everyone I’ve met on Twitter, whether I speak to you once a month or all the time, thank you. You have become part of my life, and it’s so much richer as a result. (For those of you I haven’t yet met in person, let’s try and change that, okay?)
And if we haven’t chatted on Twitter yet, please feel free to drop in and have a chat with me.