I first joined Twitter in 2007. At the time, I wasn’t sure what it was, but I’d heard a few people mention it, and thought I would try it out. It drew me in pretty quickly. At the time, it was a way to connect with people. What made It wonderful then was the fact that it was social. If you just wanted to blast your opinion out into the world without any regard for interacting with other people, it wasn’t for you. What made it great was the way that you could interact with people, and they would respond. And it was friendly.
And it was great for making connections. I remember the my first Summer on Twitter at the Toronto Fringe, and how you’d see someone that you kinda knew from twitter, and ask Are you weirdusername? And they’d usually answer yes, and then you’d hang out for the evening. Or if you were not comfortable doing that, you’d tweet at them and ask if they were at the Fringe tent right then, and effectively do the same thing. It was a great way to connect, and to – dare I say it – to network.
I remember when I discovered the 2AM Theatre people: an amazing community of passionate theatre creators from all over North America (and perhaps beyond), and how those twitter conversations kept me going through a period of my life when I wasn’t making theatre. I still follow a lot of those people today.
And there was weird twitter. People like Jonny Sun’s “aliebn that doesbn’t understband engblish”. The Angelina Jolie’s leg account. Strange little in jokes that popped up and that we shared and loved. And that we couldn’t really share with people not on Twitter, because you actually had to be there in the moment for it to make sense.
Twitter then was a bit messy, it went down a lot (the “failwhale” was a regular sight). But it was warm. And it was fun. That’s gone now. And its been gone for a long time. I’ll miss that aspect of twitter, because I don’t think there’s any way to get it back. But I wanted to remember what it once was. Because maybe it might disappear forever, and it would be a shame for what it is now to be the only thing I remember about it.