I can quite clearly remember when I realised how powerful a tool Twitter is/could be/will be (delete as appropriate) and thanks to Twitter’s new downloadable archive I can share it with you.
It was June/July 2009; I had been a member of Twitter for more than 18 months but had only been active on the service for around 8 months. I sent the following tweet, a question accompanied with an image and the new to me ‘hashtag’ into the aether that was Twitter:
— Benjamin Thomas (@Nonentity) June 30, 2009
I guess a little context would help, so let me paint a picture. It was June 2009, here in Wales we had just had something of a heat wave – yes the rain does stop occasionally. I was in my girlfriend’s (now fiancée) parents back garden where a plant had bloomed for the first time since they had moved there – a good 20 odd years – and no one had any idea what this plant was. So I snapped a picture, and decided to ask Twitter.
Two days later I received the following reply:
@nonentity Hey there..I think it’s Callistemon or commonly known as Red Bottlebrush. Beautiful!! :)
— Jodi Crooks (@JustJodiNow) July 2, 2009
We had a name for this mysterious plant! From a complete stranger on the other side of the world! That’s when Twitter ’clicked’ for me, when I truly understood the power, convenience, and draw of such a network. My moment of Twitter clarity.
Although since the beginnings of the Internet we’ve had services that allowed us to connect with other people: usenet, IRC, forums and more; but they all required some sort of relationship to be built with the right people, and a huge computer (in comparison to my then iPhone).
Twitter gives me a single, convenient and easy place to get answers, meet like minded people, and discuss pretty much anything. An experience that I’m yet to have with any other social network.
Have you had a similar experience? Let me know in the comments.