My relationship with Twitter to-date has been short, but is has evolved a great deal since it started. I went from not knowing Twitter existed, to staring at my computer screen, waiting for a new tweet to pop up. I think I’ve got Twitteritis. Strange but true.
Ignorance and suspicion
I don’t remember when I first became aware of Twitter’s existence, but probably about three years ago. For a long time, all I knew was that it existed and nothing more.
About 18 months ago, I decided to have a look at it to see what the fuss was all about. I could not make any sense of what I saw. Most messages seemed incomprehensible, they contained random strings of characters and words with a ‘#’ symbol stuck on at the beginning… What on earth was that about?! I left Twitter’s page and continued in my blissful state of ignorance.
A few months later, I had another go at Twitter. This time I was ready for it, I thought. I set up an account under a made-up name, selected the most restrictive settings on my account and waited to see what would happen. I was still too suspicious to let Twitter know anything about me. What would they do with all my information?
As it turned out, nothing much happened at all. I got ‘followed’ by some random person and my child’s after-school club. That freaked me out. How did they know I existed? What did it mean that they ‘followed’ me? Were they really watching what I did? So, just in case, I did nothing. No tweets. Zilch. Nada. You never know who might be watching…
A wind of change
My Twitter ignorance and suspicion prevailed until just over a month ago. ‘Social media’ had been a buzz for a while and I wasn’t a part of it. I felt increasingly left behind. So I decided to close my eyes and jump (only metaphorically speaking, so no need to panic).
I got rid of my dormant Twitter account and set up a new one. I asked one of my friends whether she was on Twitter and she was, so I used her as my guinea pig to practise sending Tweets messages. I ‘followed’ a bunch of TV stations, magazines and some well-known people to figure out what the whole business of following was about.
After I’d removed ‘following’ restrictions from my account, I suddenly acquired about 20 followers in one day. They didn’t know me and I knew nothing about them, but at least my page wasn’t looking so desperately deserted any more.
Sudden onset of Twitteritis
Fast-forward a couple of weeks and you wouldn’t recognize me. I am in a completely different place. I’ve learned about Twitter handles and hashtags. I tweet, retweet and reply to tweets. I have even tweeted to people I don’t know – and survived the experience. I have clocked up nearly a 100 followers and get excited each time a new person joins my list.
Twitter has started sucking me in. I check my Twitter page more often than my email. Sometimes, I catch myself sitting in front of the computer, just waiting for a new tweet to pop up. I think I’ve developed Twitteritis. Whilst not a recognised medical condition, I believe it may spell early signs of a Twitter addiction…
Where do I go from here? I don’t know. Last time something similar happened in terms of ‘evolution’ of my attitude, was in the late 1990s. This was when I started dabbling in the stock market, trying to ride the wave of the ‘dot.com bubble’. I bought a few shares which rocketed to the sky in value and crashed down with a mighty thud.
Maybe I should try to do things in moderation and hope that Twitter is not going to crash down on me…