Posts tagged ‘Social Media’

November 12, 2012

Time without Twitter

On Friday, after a great but exhausting day at the National Media Museum, I managed to leave my beloved Iphone on the top deck of a bus.  I didn’t even realise to start off with, but after searching the myriad of bags and pockets I had with me, it gradually dawned on me that my phone was continuing the bus journey alone. So, I spent the weekend frantically cancelling things, blocking accounts, changing passwords and assuming that all was lost. Amazingly, it was handed in and I managed to have it back in my hand again by Monday. Massive thanks to whoever was responsible for that.

Because I’d cancelled everything, it took a whole week for everything to get sorted out. So I had an accidental week without Twitter and Instagram. Every so often, I’d get the chance to go online and spent a little bit of time on Twitter, but it wasn’t the same as having it to hand all the time. Conversations were missed, blog posts went unread, news went unseen – I didn’t even know that Bradley Wiggins had been knocked off his bike, and he’s one of my great heroes.  Even that made me realise just how much of my news I get through Twitter.

There were upsides to all of this. I did a bit more of all of my ongoing projects than perhaps I might have done – a bit more knitting, a bit more bathroom woodwork sanding (which is truly the most horrible of all DIY jobs) and a bit more working on the allotment. Most telling of all was that I read a whole novel from cover to cover in only a handful of days. That used to be a regular habit until Twitter started sucking up all my time. I had far fewer headaches, suggesting that perhaps I spend too long staring at my tiny phone screen. I sat on the bus and looked aimlessly out of the window, instead of being head down looking at my phone each time I made a journey, and that was actually very pleasant. It’s easy to lose those precious moments of just being, if you’re constantly checking updates on various social media platforms.

But I missed it. I missed the laugh-out-loud-on-the-bus-home moments. I missed knowing the news, and opinion about the news, as it happened. I missed my friends –  especially the ones like Dave Graham (@dakegra) who is responsible for this blog post idea and who has a great blog of his own, Espresso Coco, which you should go and visit. He’s one of a large number of people with whom I have only an online friendship, but I don’t think that makes the relationships any less valid. I missed finding great blog posts to read, photos to see, and having my little place in the lives of all the people I met via Twitter.

I know there is a balance to be struck. One in which I spend a little less time online, leaving time for books, projects, gazing out of windows and, erm…’real life’ – but one that still allows me to spend enough time online to enjoy the great things about it. Apparently, all I need to do to make sure that happens is lose my phone every now and again…

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March 7, 2012

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…