Social mediary

After a year-long hiatus from Twitter, I recently reinstalled and started using Twitter again. Which is to say, I’ve started reading my Twitter feed … I haven’t really been posting. Twitter has changed since I first joined in 2007, and so have I – for the first few years I primarily used it to chat with my friends, and then everyone moved to Facebook and so did I. Now I use Twitter mostly as a source of news. I’m not sure Twitter is going to last the distance. I use it most days, just for reading, but it’s not that interesting to me anymore. Facebook is where most of my social mediary happens now, just because that’s where everyone is. And I use the FB groups for committee work. And stalking of course.

I’ve recently expanded my toolkit of social mediary to include Snapchat and Instagram. I find Snapchat somewhat baffling. It’s fun, but relatively pointless. So I use Snapchat occasionally, but it’s never going to be my go-to SM app.

Instagram, I love. I can pop in and see what people have been up to – I follow some really interesting, creative people and I love getting a glimpse into their life through the little squares they show me. I like the image rather than text focus of Instagram over Twitter, and the longevity of Instagram over Snapchat.

Did Facebook win the social media wars? I think they did.

Nick and Rach get hitched

Back in the day when Twitter was new and Facebook barely existed, people would tell me that my internet friends were not real. If I hadn’t met them in person, then how could we be proper friends? I have friends from all over the world, some of whom I’ve met and some I probably never will.

But that’s not the main point of this blog. What I wanted to say is that two of my very dearest Twitter friends got married on the weekend – to each other. A bunch of us met on Twitter after the earthquakes, and what started out as chatting on the internet quickly turned into meet-ups in ‘real’ life with an awesome bunch of weird and wonderful people. These are people that I would probably not encounter in my everyday life, so I thank Twitter for the opportunity to get to know them. And last Saturday, we got together to celebrate Rachel and Nick’s nuptials. It was a fab day.


Tweet tweet

I’ve been using Twitter since March 2007. I’ll tell you why.

The Twitter bird

I started using Twitter because some friends I met online were using it and I was interested in trying something new. There were all sorts of new social networking tools around at the time – Facebook was still fairly new, MySpace was in full swing, Friendster was on its way out. It’s funny, actually, to think of the myriad of different social networking services that have come and gone in the past five or so years. Facebook has stuck, and so has Twitter.

Twitter is an online messaging service. It’s a bit like the status update aspect of Facebook. You have 140 characters to type a message that is then broadcast to all your Twitter friends. You can read the messages from the people you follow as well. Twitter posts are called tweets. Twitter people are called tweeps.

My first tweet was unremarkable: “I’m tweeting, dummy”. My most recent tweet was “I’m sore today after training last night”. It’s all pretty inane. And yet Twitter informs me that I have tweeted over sixteen thousand times. That’s a lot of chatter. So why?

Twitter keeps me in touch with my friends and what they’re up to. I can see where people are, who they are with, what they are doing, thinking about, struggling with. And my tweeps can read the same about me. I feel connected to this group of people because we share so much of our lives with each other. It’s the quickest, simplest, most interesting way I’ve found to interact with others online. I find it rewarding and satisfying.

Did I mention I’m quite nosy? And a bit of an over-sharer? Twitter is the perfect medium for someone like me.

You can find me over on

My Twitter page

Friends and the Internet

I have a lot of friends that I know from the Internet. Some I’ve met IRL (in real life) and some I just know in an abstract way from Twitter, Facebook, and forums that I’ve been involved in. My Internet friends are a source of entertainment and amusement to me. I’ve spent many hours chatting away with people I will probably never meet, people who live all over the world, and yet whom I know a lot about.

In my travels I have met some of my Internet friends in person, and interestingly, I’ve found them to be pretty much the same as they are online. I wonder if the idea that people can be anything or anyone they choose online might be a bit of a myth. It seems to me that, given the chance to be anyone they want, most people end up just being themselves

And Internet friendship, just like any other relationships, are complicated. In many ways, some of my online friends know me better than those who live around me. Online, the space between me and them creates a distance that can be both a positive and a negative thing. For sure, there is a disconnection online that comes from a lack of physical proximity, but that lack of face-to-face, eye-to-eye has also meant that sometimes I have shared thoughts and feelings that I might not otherwise. It’s an interesting dynamic.

The thing about Internet friendships that surprises me the most is how easy it is to disengage with someone online. Decided you don’t like someone anymore? No problem. A few mouse-clicks later you never need to see or hear them again. I’ve done this myself to others, and others have done it to me. Sometimes it’s as hard emotionally as breaking up with a RL friend, and other times it really is just as simple as ‘you’re annoying me, goodbye’. Sometimes it makes me sad that it’s so easy.

But mostly I like the duality of my online-offline life. With the growing popularity of Facebook and Twitter, the boundaries of these are becoming more and more blurry. It used to be that I had online friends, and offline RL friends who were different sets of people. And now…you reading this might well be both!