Careful what you Tweet for – How Twitter changed my life

Ever mentioned something casually on Twitter, and got replies and help from people you don’t even know? Here’s what keeps happening to me – it’s impressive!

I’ve signed up to Twitter in 2008, ever since it became apparent that all the internet hipsters are on it. Thought I shouldn’t miss out on something that could potentially be big. I only started twittering in early 2009, when some of my friends got into it – and it has seriously changed my life.

At first I was filled with all the usual reservations (new interface, what the hell is this for, what’s the point, waste of time, don’t know anybody, etc) – but like with any of these social utilities: once you start using it, you might start loving it. Happened to me – from pointless tweeting to having actual conversations with friends far away.

Then I’ve noticed people started using these #hashtags. Although I still don’t understand them fully, I started using them – anything from #iranelections to #nicerfilmnames. Brands and places are a favourite, especially when used as gags (having a #Starbucks coffee in the sunshine in #Camden – nice!)

Hashtags can be picked up by others, so when I use #Camden in my tweet, other people searching #Camden will see my tweets – and can react to them.

So last week I was trying to install a shopping cart software called CRE Loaded. It didn’t work, and it drove me up the wall. Ranting away on Twitter, I said “#creloaded is RUBBISH” to vent some emotions. Very therapeutic I tell you, a bit like Speaker’s Corner.

What I hadn’t anticipated is CRE Loaded founder @saliozzia picking up my rants, saying “it burns, it burns – what’s not working for you?” What a delight, someone who CARES – not only about money, but about his customers! Thanks to his tweet, I have hope to get CRE Loaded working yet!

The other day, I casually mentioned my dissatisfaction with my current webhost Easyspace, tweeting “Considering ditching #easyspace and going with 1 and 1 next year – customer service is atrocious”. Next thing I know, a direct message from @easyspace asking for details so that they can investigate. I nearly had tears in my eyes! (n.b. I’ll probably still ditch them though – nothing ever works on my current server package).

Other surprises include reactions to Firefox and WordPress. My browser kept crashing unexpectedly, and mentioning this in passing, random people are tweeting very helpful tips. Thanks to you all, my issue is now sorted.

What started for me as a new social gimmick to kill some time, a joke maybe, has evolved into a brief and serious online-diary. Now it’s turned into a fully fledged worldwide community help central.

Twitter is impressive – overhyped Media Darling or not. I currently feel more connected to “the world” than my downstairs neighbour, and god knows what’s next. If you haven’t’ tried it out yet, I strongly encourage you to give it a go. Signup is free, and you can follow me (I’m @versluis).

Happy Tweeting ;-0

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