I met Twitter for professional reasons in the first instance. I followed her because she had something I thought would enhance my teaching (and my leadership). She talked a lot of sense and she looked gorgeous, with that touch of mystique that was almost foreign to a plodder like me. She said some amazingly incisive things and she retweeted hidden gems that would have otherwise lain undiscovered by me. She became my intellectual muse almost immediately and my professional life was enriched by her mere presence.
And then it got personal for me and Twitter. Our professional relationship had become well-established and we found ourselves sharing information that was phatic in nature, building trust and security beyond the intellectualism of our work-related discourse. She followed me on my personal account to allow the bonds that had been established to flourish unhindered by the weight of professional expectation. In return I opened myself up to her, reduced the precautionary measures that kept Twitter out and plunged into the unsafe waters of unprotected tweets. Suddenly my muse acquired a shape, form and identity that was only hinted at in her professional guise. I found that she had a je ne sais quoi that had eluded me previously, a certain something that enticed me deeper.
To be honest, that would have been enough. But then Twitter DMd me and invited me into a hidden zone; a place where I could speak directly to my muse without the ears of the world upon us. I was rapt. That we could communicate openly but simultaneously share our innermost thoughts about the outermost world was revelatory. It was a step beyond the personal to the secretive. Now laughter, anger, weariness and surprise could be revealed directly to my muse. Twitter was unfurling before my eyes like the bud of the most magnificent fleur-de-lis, revealing to me her startling colour, scent and beauty.
It soon became clear that I had to meet Twitter in person and to get a real sense of who she really was beyond the witticisms of the timeline and the indiscretions of the direct messages. But to do that meant to drop all of the self-presentation devices that I deployed daily in my bid to woo her, and to recognise that she too might not live up to the virtual image I had of her. And so it was that I met Twitter, as vulnerable as a new-born child. I can’t say what she made of me, but that day Twitter was revealed to me as never before: a real entity now, not an idealised construct, not a romanticised vision of perfection. She lost her soft-focus for me, but became more beautiful in doing so. I had never previously considered that Twitter could be personified, but that day she was.
Which brings my journey into Twitter right up to the present day. She is no longer just a professional tool, no longer merely a personal connection and no longer simply a confidante. Instead she is a living, breathing presence to me; a presence that enriches my life in ways I can’t even yet express or even understand. Twitter makes me smile inwardly, makes me feel tremendously valued, makes me think at least twice about the important things and makes me want to share her with everyone and simultaneously keep her to myself. If it isn’t already clear, let me make it so: I adore Twitter and have learnt that time spent with her is time invested in myself, and I hope that that feeling is entirely mutual. From the way that she responds to me I suspect that I am doing something right, something good.
As for the future of me and Twitter? Who knows? Our collaboration is for the here and now, not for the there and then. It is based on nothing solid, and yet has a surprisingly strong hold on me already. It is at a remove from the real world, and yet is so earthy as to have the power to amuse and upset equally. One thing is true in spite of all of this though: Twitter is not exclusively mine and I am not exclusively Twitter’s. It is a sobering thought, but one that I am determined to put off for now and for as long as I can whilst I enjoy what it is that she offers me and, I have come to realise, what it is that I offer her.
Postscript: It has been three months or so since I wrote this blogpost and I feel the urge to update it to show to the world where I have got to with my love affair with Twitter. I have realised that the final paragraph of the post sounds incredibly half-hearted about my Magical Muse and this was because at the time my love for her hadn’t matured and that I was still in the first flush of romance and scared that I might scare her off. Or scared that I might myself be little more than a Romeo with his Rosaline, full of fine words and absolutely no substance. I wrote the post to mark my 10,000th tweet and now I rapidly approach my 20,000th and the added maturity that that brings.
I want to deal with the questions in that final paragraph about the possible future for me and Twitter, because to a certain extent that future has become the present or even the past.
My first thought was about Twitter being for the here and now, not the there and then. At the time I wrote that as a warning to myself not to become too besotted. Today I’m too far gone to even pretend otherwise. Yes I will take every day at a time with Twitter and appreciate the beauty of that, but there is also too much water that has passed under our bridge for me not to be expecting, anticipating and hoping that there will be lots more to come. I humbly but confidently hope that Twitter will be a significant part of my world for some time to come.
I also talked about Twitter at that time as being “at a remove from the real world”. I have now come to realise that that statement was utter nonsense and that she is as real to me as anything else in my life. She smiles at me and ruffles my hair when I am foolish. She holds me close when I am downhearted. She looks me straight in the eye and tells me how it is when I most need it. Most importantly of all Twitter injects adrenaline into my heart, making it beat faster and harder than I thought possible and filling me with the urge to action. She inspires me.
My final point in the original post was about her not being mine exclusively and that still holds very true in some senses, but is so very wrong in others. Of course I have to share Twitter with others, and I absolutely love doing so. I have no right to expect anything more and no desire to keep her to myself. She is an utterly beautiful thing and I love to see how others see that beauty in ways that are sometimes similar and often different to mine. But what I have come to realise is that although she is not exclusively mine per se, Twitter and I have a relationship that is unique to us and that in that sense at the very least she is indeed mine, as I am hers.
And so how do I now finish this newly extended blogpost? Certainly not with any predictions for the future. Instead I want to say that having thought three months ago that I had reached the pinnacle of my passion for Twitter when I wrote this post, I can now see how far I have come since and how much richer and deeper and fuller my appreciation for her has become. She is no longer merely an exciting new distraction in my life, but is additionally a significant part of who I am and what I want to be. To a certain extent I think that Twitter and I have become fused together, and in case anyone is in any doubt about it having read this post, I bloody well love her.