Twelve months ago I was just one of a multitude of people sitting on the peripheries of Twitter, following a few celebrities and never really tweeting. I had a small number of followers (less than 10) and we never really interacted.
I’ve always been a huge fan of the drama series [Spooks] and when series 9 ended with Lucas North a.k.a. John Bateman appearing to jump to his death, I searched Twitter to see what the rest of the country had to say about his fate. Was he really dead? Had he taken up base jumping? You know the kind of thing…
What I found was a whole community of people. Well…more accurately…what I found was Lucas North cleaning his gun…but that’s another story! Seriously though, I found a small group of people united in their love of a certain Mr Armitage. So, I ventured a few tweets in their direction and found, to my surprise, that they tweeted back and before I knew it I was involved in conversations and role plays, and was laughing until my sides hurt. Of course I found that we had far more in common than an obsession with an actor and it was so refreshing to find people that didn’t think I was weird for loving history and genealogy.
To say Twitter changed my life might seem like an exaggeration or make me sound like someone with no social skills spending her life glued to a computer…but I’m serious. A few years ago I went through a traumatic break up and it’s fair to say that since then I have struggled making friends outside of work and just generally moving on. On New Year’s Eve last year I had to work…I never find that time of year especially easy and I was feeling particularly low. A friend at work was very kind to me and although that helped, I was teary when I left, depressed at the thought of an evening alone when everyone else was having fun. I posted something to that effect on Twitter and was rather surprised at the reaction. “Let’s have a Twitter party!” was the suggestion.
Well…I had the best New Year’s Eve I’d had for many many years. I spent it sat at my computer, drinking rum and coke, and chatting to lots of other people on Twitter who were in similar situations. We shared music and laughs and although I was physically alone, I have never felt less so. I vowed to spend less time wallowing in self-pity and more time living…call it my New Year’s resolution.
And live I certainly have…
Apart from making a concerted effort to go to the theatre and concerts, the highlight of the last 12 months has been me being brave enough to meet in person nine of the lovely people I’ve been chatting to on Twitter.
I’ve been to pub gigs, had a day out in York, had a picnic in Regent’s Park followed by a trip to London Zoo, spent a very wet day wandering round London trying not to get lost and, I was even brave enough to go and stay in a hotel managed by one of my new friends and spent 2 lovely days enjoying Devon with her. Most importantly I’ve made friendships that I hope will last a lifetime and met people I really care about.
I’ve done more this year than I’ve done in the whole of the last 10 years and I’m not sure I would ever have done so much if it wasn’t for the unstinting and unconditional friendship I found online. I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to me and how much it really and truly has changed my life. I’ve found inspiration where I thought there was none, and no longer feel alone in life.
So to all of you…and you know who you are…thank you…from the very bottom of my heart.
I love you xxxxxxxxx