When I first started on Twitter, about 3 years ago I was certain that this new form of technology was only going to be used for professional purposes.
Then the other night I found myself tweeting the following- “Phew caught myself in time that was almost a TMI tweet”
So what happened. What has changed in the past 3 years of twitter that I now tweet more about shoes, sending get well vibes to sick peeps and #badanimalpuns than I do about “actual library stuff”?
In one word-
It is a powerful word. It has added meaning to my life that in 2008 I could never had imagined.
A lot of it has happened over the past 18 months. Why? I stopped using it as a strictly information only resource and started interacting with it.
I engaged in small talk, and I got to know the people I was following on twitter. I got to know their likes, their dislikes, their pets and their haircuts.
And this is a good thing….
It has given my professional conversations a much better edge, I now ‘know’ the people I am interacting with- it makes those conversations more like talking to colleagues and like-minded friends than complete strangers- which in turn makes those professional conversations more powerful, more dynamic and more interesting.
I have made friends through twitter- When I moved to Melbourne at the start of 2010 I knew 1 person (my age) in Melbourne. Now I have local tweeps I am proud to call my friends, who I socialise with on a regular basis and make me do crazy things! This would not have happened without twitter.
Nor would I now have friends interstate whom I am also proud to call my friends, even though if you count the number of days I have interacted with them in person it would be under 5. At the ALIA Online conference, the most frequent ‘introduction’ wasn’t a staid ‘nice to meet you’ but a squeal, hug and ‘so nice to finally meet you in real life’. Friendships were formed in minutes as we already knew about each other from conversations – both professional and personal on twitter. As I repeatedly remarked, it was more like seeing an old friend who you hadn’t seen for a while than meeting someone new.
But does this rushing into friendships have a downside?
No longer is there that nice slow ‘getting to know somebody’ soundtrack to life that just meanders along, and makes finding out things about a person so much fun. Instead you know all those first meeting-finding out-things already- that connection is already there but really you are meeting them for the first time- it can be uncomfortable and confusing, and has made me pause when i think about how much I know about a person but have only known them really for 3 days.
But overall I am grateful for being on twitter- for the fun, the serious, the professional and the lighthearted conversations that occur; and for the professional opportunities it has allowed me to experience. I will just have to remember that occasionally, some things are still TMI.