From tomorrow on I’m no longer a toddler, but a nursery school kid. Well, @dropje is. My Twitter alter ego celebrates its third birthday. Lately there has been a lot of debate about Twitter. A dutch writer, Daan Heersma van Voss, complained about the emptiness of all those wannabes who lack imagination. He considered it as a cheap advertising channel. Wrong! I tend not to follow those who are merely marketing their product. Personality, genuineness, sense of humour and opinions are qualities I value when I decide (not) to follow someone.
Newspapers tend to overestimate its value. They write ‘Twitter says so and so …’ Last week I saw a headline ‘Opinions on Twitter are divided upon the subject of …’ Really?! I know -since I have been around-, that it’s an easy way to gather some kind of vox pop for your articles. After all there’s loads of pressure on journalists and the wages are low compared to the hours they work. And yet, what’s the relevance of an article about eg. hashtag games people play? Twitter is some kind of an online pub. Do you write a piece on a conversation you catch in a pub?
Twitter is -in my humble opinion- whatever you want it to be. For me it has all been about meeting people and staying in touch with them. Last month I met several people I met on Twitter. Fiona did a colour analysis, Greet and I went for a hot chocolate in Antwerp and I was to meet Nick too. Nick lives in the UK and I met him in Reykjavík in october during a tweet-up. Unfortunately I got flu, so I didn’t make it to Bruges.
Meeting Greet was even more funny. We realised that it was the first time we saw each other in Belgium. We connected on Twitter because we both like Iceland (the advantage of an online pub is that you easily discover if you have common interests). She lives in Sweden, but we happened to be in Berlin and Reykjavík at the same time, so we met there. And last year I met a lot of Iceland Airwaves fans in London (Nick, Pam, Ben) and Brussels (Elly). Thanks to Twitter, Europe is really in my backyard.
I also met a lot of (innovative) colleagues thanks to Twitter. Once I wanted to work for an hour in another building, told it on Twitter and one of my colleagues helped me out.I also enjoy the lunches I have with my Twitter colleagues. If Twitter didn’t exist, I’d probably never meet them at all.
So, to all those who think Twitter ain’t social, the above examples should make you reconsider your opinion. It’s what you want it to be, not what you think it is.