Twitter birthday: 12 years of sharing

It’s my Twitter birthday today. In March 2007 I was searching for Skype names and e-mail addresses of corporate bloggers in New York, for my Corporate Blogging Trip in that year. I stumbled upon Twitter, created an account, and within two days my agenda was packed with appointments with those people - and more - in NYC. I had never done accomplished getting appointments abroad that quickly. I found it bizarre. What followed was a stormy, long-term love affair with the blue bird.


Bite size parts of life online

2007 feels so very long ago now. Because, well, it IS. Back then, some of my pals on Twitter had toddlers. Those kids are now almost adults, some of them already making money selling stuff on Instagram, perhaps dating. Other friends from the first years of Twitter got married. We saw a couple sliding rings around each other’s fingers, and sharing a photo of the wedding cake. Some of them have gotten divorced. Others have a third baby on the way. We saw companies rising and thriving, or failing. Careers peaking, faltering, and people climbing back up the social ladder.

We had Twitter auctions, Twitter cruises, Twitter picnics, Twitter drinks, Twitter lunches, Twitter ice skating parties. We had a Twitterer of the Year contest. And tweet storms. Lots of them. Those haven’t left the building, as you know. We watched the first live streaming video (ustream) in total awe in 2009. That vanished pretty quickly, when we had the same level of awe when we received our phone bills. Mobile internet was pricey. We witnessed Meerkat and Periscope, when mobile became the standard for online communications.

We saw celebrities discovering Twitter in 2011 and witnessed doing their usual schtick on the timeline. We were weary already…we were the geeks. What did celebs wanted with Twitter, anyway? Twitter became mainstream. FAST. It already was a faster news outlet than CNN, the BBC and NBC combined. There were plenty of hoaxes, but hey, we also used Twitter also to help each other out, in times of train strikes and other misfortunes.

Kind, sometimes brutal

We’re witnessing fragments of people’s lives, short and snappy. Sometimes precious moments, other times utterly brutal. And yes, I have noticed and acknowledge that I suddenly sound like an insufferable old grandma. "THOSE GOOD OLD TIMES ...BACK IN THE DAY…" 👵

Oh man…get a grip.

These days, most of us have separated our media usage per platform. Twitter = news, Instagram = visual marketing, Facebook is, well, mostly for millennials’ parents. You know what, I like Instagram. Sometimes reluctantly, because I get exhausted while trying to find some sense of reality through all the beauty filters and persuasive business coach sales funnels. Reality is more crude. Uncomfortable. Painful. There’s also beauty in reality. We hardly see any of that, though.

At the same time, we all try to share from an authentic source of being. Despite the filters, trending success stories and selfie parades. Twitter, Instagram and so many other socials still provide us with the opportunity to express ourselves creatively and to share what we feel is of value to others, and also, just for the sake of art. To use our creativity. To share how we perceive the world. To connect with others. And that’s exactly where we can make a difference, and how we can express ourselves in a way that sets us apart from the crowd. Less blueprints and standard proven formulas, please.

Checking my own integrity and authenticity

I sometimes scroll back to look at my own visual timeline. To check how it comes across a couple of months later, knowing what I know now. Have I always been expressing myself authentically? Yes and no.

Yes, because I have never shown anything that is not true. And yes, I have published a fair share of my own personal grief, about how I grew up without parents since I was fourteen years of age.

No, because I have also hidden sorrow. Didn’t share heartbreaking, gut-wrenching pain and misery. Didn’t show any of it. Not even glossed over with a semi-flattering filter.

Bags under my eyes because I cried all night? Sunglasses on the timeline.
Craving for solace and comfort? Posting a cat photo.
Utterly exhausted because I had worked incessantly? This is my low carb meal of the day.
Lonely Christmas? View of our skyline.

Should I feel ashamed of this? Perhaps, but I’m not. I think that there is enormous strength in vulnerability. We can show this vulnerability, but we may also keep it to ourselves, in the extremely painful moments that most of us endure at some point in our life. When you’re just too sad to even utter the words to yourself about what happened to you. When you still have to come to terms with it. We may share when and if it feels right to us. I take the liverty to choose my own timing for this.

Transparency and open sharing of what we experience in life, and what we go through is a beautiful thing and a gift for our generation. Taboos seem to vanish rather quickly. But there is also still enough space and time to process life events intrinsically, with the bonus of finding a positive online connection with kindred spirits, as well.

It's all good.

I have connected with many people in these last twelve years on Twitter. I felt and feel connected to them. I am grateful for meeting them and to be able to connect with them. Every single day.

What are your experiences in this?