Four Years on Twitter: How It’s Changed Me and My Life

July 8, 2012

Well here it is again, July 9th. The day, when four years ago, I embarked on a journey that would take me to places that I never dreamed of. It seems sort of silly to say. I mean, I’m just talking about a social network.  How is it possible that a simple, 140-character driven online tool could possibly impact someone in profound and life changing ways?

I previously wrote about Twitter on my last anniversary and it was interesting for me to go back and read it to see how my perspective has changed.    The first thing is that I probably don’t spend as much time on Twitter as I used to.  My life has changed a bit and I tend to spend more time tweeting around specific events than I do on a daily basis. That said, I still try and share some good content with my  followers on a regular basis.

The thing for me, the really profound thing, is that I am reflecting on the relationships that began four years ago and am finding the results to be astounding. On my first anniversary, I wrote about meeting  Midori who has become my partner-in-crime when it comes to helping others love technology and communicate.  Who knew that a simple online connection could have lead to such an important friendship and a foundational part of my life?

I now understand that it’s not what I say or do on Twitter (or any social network) that matters as much as how I treat the relationships that I make there.  I look at Christina Coster and how she started Eventcamp because of Twitter.  It occurs to me that no matter how great of an impact that particular event had on my professional life, the friendships that grew out of are one of the best things in my life.  It’s so clear that when you connect people you can decide to bring them into your life or not.  It might be for a moment or a lifetime. It might be to help them or for them to help you.  It’s not just about putting words out into the internet, but about the people who write the words and seeing value in what they say.

In the last week both Midori and Jeff (my business coach and friend) remarked that they have seen a difference in me.  I realized that the difference didn’t happen in the last day or month, but overtime as I learn from my own mistakes and see what works and what doesn’t.   I realized that everyday I understand the value of living a positive life and how powerful that can be.  And I suppose when someone has known me for an extended period of time, what I thing are small changes really amount to true personal growth.

Twitter, in it’s purest form, isn’t a life changer. It’s the people who I have met through it that have made all the difference.   However, there are seven things that I have learned over the last four years that I would like to share with you.

Seven Lessons From Four Years on Twitter
  1. Online communication is just a door. You have to open it to move on.  Pick up the phone and call people or make plans to see them in person to really connect.
  2. Relationships ARE NOT EASY. Whoever said they are is a liar. They take work and nurturing.  Online or not, you need to put in the time to get the return.
  3. If you are nice and help others, people will support you. I would not be enjoying a life of entrepreneurship if it were not for all of the people who support me.
  4. Social networks change and evolve.  Stop thinking about the platform, think about the end result.
  5. Put down the social media when you are face-to-face.  Enjoy reality. Twitter can’t give you a hug or buy you a beer.
  6. There are some bad people out there and you have to rid yourself of toxicity.  Online and in real-life.
  7. Be grateful. Be funny. 

I can’t predict if I will be using Twitter a year from now or if we will simply be communicating telepathically.  I don’t know what the next hottest thing will be (sure, I can predict, but that’s another post). I can tell you that I will be continuing to improve who I am a year from now and I will be doing it with the help of Twitter.

If I met you as a result of Twitter or we got to know each other better because of it, thank you for being in my life.