Taking Part: Why Twitter has changed my life.

As the mother of small children, it is very easy for me to find myself living in an ever-shrinking world. With a daily routine of school, play-group and work, punctured by the occasional holiday, life can get very small. The people I meet are parents at the school gates, or colleagues in the office. It is difficult making friends as a grown up.

As part of my 35:35 Challenge, I joined Twitter and it has changed the relationship I have with the city I live in. My world is expanding again.

Last Friday, I met fifteen people for drinks and dinner. Of that fifteen, only one was a friend in real life. One was the lovely Abi, who I’d met once before and the rest were strangers to me and in most cases to each other, apart from our relationship on Twitter. Strangers who managed to chat effortlessly for an entire evening, resulting in me finally tipping my cocktail-and-steak filled self into bed after midnight. Excellent.

Not only has Twitter resulted in cocktails, it has sent me to Bettakultcha,  Playful Leeds, and ‘Homage to Fromage‘ cheese club. I’ve been introduced to a whole new world in the city that I’ve lived in since 2003, and never even knew existed. One of creative spirits, independent retailers, small scale events covering every subject under the sun, and of people who endlessly inspire me. It’s a great thing for someone like me who is interested in everything. The main problem I have now is fitting it all into my life, and that is another story altogether. Next on the list of things I’d like to try are  are LeedsLetters and the knitting-and-cocktails group, Yarnia. It’s knitting and cocktails! I think we’ve discovered through my inability to crochet, that knitting and I are never going to be great friends but I think I’ll feel a lot more optimistic about the whole thing with a drink or two. At the very least I’ll feel more creative, even if I can’t even cast on.

When I tell people that Twitter has changed my life, there are two main responses. From the group of people who have never used Twitter, there is a raising of the eyebrows and a bit of poorly-disguised sniggering. From the other group, who are as addicted to it as I am, there is a knowing nod. To use Twitter the way I now use it, you need to follow local, real people, not celebrities. You need to talk and ask questions. You need to get involved and turn up to events. Social media is often blamed for preventing people from forming proper relationships and reducing ability to make true connections.

The people who say this clearly weren’t at our table on Friday night…

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11 Responses to “Taking Part: Why Twitter has changed my life.”

  1. That’s great! I lived in Leeds for a year and loved it, and always enjoy going back there. Most recently, I went to my youngest sister’s graduation in December 2010.

    As for meeting real people as a result of using twitter, I’ve done the same. I’m off out with Penny from http://aresidence.co.uk/ on Friday to see ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ at the Lakeside Art Centre (where Penny is blogger in residence). I was introduced to Penny by Amanda from http://theanamumdiary.co.uk/ who is the most frequent tweeter I know!

    PS I can’t crochet either, so I tend to take my cross stitch along to gatherings where people are doing crafty things 😉

    • It’s so lovely to meet people in real life – and especially good for me as I’m not able to go to any of the blogging events this year. Although I may set up a little Leeds Bloggers gathering too, to compensate for that!

      Have fun on Friday!

  2. Fantastic post 🙂 I too have really benefitted from making wonderful friends on twitter and blogs over the years, they are truly some of the best friends I could have and know more about me (and care more) than some family Continue enjoying it :):):)

    • Thank you! I’ve only been blogging since May and on Twitter since the Autumn (I think) but it’s really not taken very long for me to find some great people – who I hope will be the kind of friends you describe, one day.

  3. I completely agree with you. Twitter has been a life saver for me. As a single girl, watching her friends get married and have babies and generally become less interested in spending time with a singleton (you’d be amazed the number of dinner parties you get excluded from as you don’t have a partner!), I saw my social circle get smaller and smaller. Then I discovered Twitter and blogging and have found some of the best friends a girl could wish for. I know if I’m having a bad day I can turn to Twitter and there will be someone there to talk to.
    That said, saying you have made friends online or via Twitter does encourage a certain amount of laughing and derision among those not “in the know”. But I just smile and know that, whatever they think, my world is bigger and better because of Twitter.

    • It’s amazing these days how often I start a sentence with something like “I was on Twitter the other day…” It’s completely changed everything and it’s really good to hear that I’m not the only one having a better life because of it!

  4. I couldn’t agree more! Twitter for me is an endless stream of information, amusement and support, and I love the way Leeds has embraced the social side with real life meetings that spark off friendships. You never know who your tweets will lead you to, and that’s very exciting! I love your blog by the way, and I’m very pleased to have met you in real life now too!

    • Thank you! It’s been a real pleasure to meet you too. My main problem these days is that there is so much going on in Leeds that I would love to be a part of. I’m going to struggle with lack of time and money. But that’s a far better place to be in than before, sitting at home avoiding watching the football!

  5. That was an enspiring read i dont think i utilise twitter as much as i should do

  6. So I was on twitter and I got to tweeting with this awesome lass and……hey! wait a minute! it was you!

    Anyway, I think I’ve come up with a solution to your problem of too many interests and not enough time – you need to research and then initiate a project to make one or more clones of yourself. There’s bound to be someone on twitter who can help! I just have the ideas!

    Mwah xx

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