How has your use of Twitter impacted or changed you?

That's me in 2008.

That’s me, tattoo free, back in 2008.

I have been invited to present at the Bangor Social Media Breakfast on April 3rd. I have been using Twitter since April of 2008 and so I will be discussing how I have seen the platform change since I signed up way back when Bush was still President.

The invitation got me thinking about how things have shifted since back then. Back then it was still a medium folks used via text message as the apps (and many of the phones they run on today) did not yet exist. Before I signed up I was of those reluctant folks who wondered why the hell people would want to know what I was doing at any given moment. I remained reluctant for much of that year.

It was not until I moved back to Maine in 2009 that I fell in with the Tweetup (“Twitter meet up” for the uninitiated) community organized by Flyte New Media’s Rich Brooks. It was then that I began to see and understand the platform as a bridge between my social life and online life. Since then, that line has blurred exponentially and many no longer think of their online and offline existences as separate. Twitter has since been the avenue by which I have met innumerable friends, opportunities for activism, and business opportunities. I have learned from the people who share their perspectives, news and insights. I have seen revolutions from the perspective of the revolutionaries on the ground. I have met some new, amazing friends and expanded my community of peers. In an indirect way, I met my wife via Twitter. My life has certainly been enriched by my participation with the platform.

What I especially enjoy about Twitter is the opportunity to follow people with experiences and perspectives different from mine. One of the things I fear the most about the proliferation of social media in our lives is our tendency to shut out things that make us uncomfortable or don’t gel with the way that we see the world. I have learned a great deal from people who don’t live the life that I live, who don’t enjoy the things that I enjoy, who don’t believe the things that I believe. As a result of selecting to expose myself to the insights, perspectives and testimonies of these folks, I have learned new things. I have appreciated new perspectives. I have expanded my understanding of the world. I have long had a reputation of being outspoken and opinionated, but my exposure to these new perspectives has helped me to realize that even though I sometimes feel otherwise, no, I don’t know everything. I am thankful for this opportunity.

I will be thinking about this a lot between now and the presentation, but I am curious about what you think. How has your experience with Twitter impacted you?

PHOTO CREDIT: Callum Ingra

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.