Over the years I have had the blessing of establishing great friendships through Twitter. Yes, Twitter, that social network that does nothing but let you express your thoughts in 140 characters.
But through those 140 characters, you discover what is important to a person. You discover whether someone is simply using their account for marketing purposes or if you are lucky like me, you discover people’s values, political inclinations, vulnerabilities, sudden morbid thoughts, wins, failures and so on — all through a series of 140 characters.
Right now, I cannot think of a better, more well-rounded way, with the least amount of friction to discover a personality through the internet. We used to do it through the blogs, but blogging is hard work. 140 characters? Almost anybody can do that.
However, just like any other relationship, investment is needed in exchange for value. You need to put in the time to find and follow the right people, to consume their tweets, to engage appropriately, and finally, to craft your own 140 characters.
I have such a serious relationship with Twitter, I scan my entire timeline as far back as it will allow me, as one of my daily morning routines. People can say all they want about the noise and how we should avoid social media to be truly productive, but my theory is, we have to accept the noise if we want to find the hidden gems. It is a personal choice and a tradeoff to make though. That hour I spend on Twitter in the morning could be used for something else, but do I want to? I weigh the value I derive against the effort and time invested.
To be fair, I am an introvert when it comes to most real-life social settings, so I do not experience as much serendipitous meetings offline as I do online. Thus the online social setting that twitter provides me with, is precious to me. When I follow someone, it creates a momentum that builds as I see as I see the world through his or her eyes. We develop a subtle connection through our tweets; it is amazing how much I can relate personally to so much of one person’s thoughts. There is an invisible camaraderie being woven — by the time we meet each other in real life, we are like old friends, once we bypass the initial awkwardness.
I have had several life-impacting friendships develop through Twitter. Some blossomed into real-life, some I will probably never get to meet, though they may understand me more intimately than friends elsewhere. Some have seen me through my growth and struggles; some faithfully read every single post I put out there. My emotions, thoughts and ideas matter to these people. They do not find me longwinded, nor do they roll their eyes because I care about politics and desire very much to make an impact on this world.
Because of this asynchronous community, I feel like I have a place in this world.
Through the bits of information flowing through Twitter to which I am like a conduit to, I share what is meaningful to me, in hope that someone else would find meaning in them too. Some part of my soul sings when I receivethese in return.
I feel a sense of joy when people find what I share meaningful to them too — it is almost the earliest, tiniest hint I was given, with regards to my sense of purpose. You cannot put a price on what brings you joy. And while it may seem trivial to the outside world, I will take every single thing that brings me joy and clarity to my sense of purpose.
For me, Twitter is world-changing, because it has changed mine for the better, in a way that cannot be measured by tangible metrics we fuss too much about.