I have reprinted the article I wrote below.
To see the full series of articles just head over to MarkBrassington.com
I joined Twitter in February 2011. Prior to this I had no internet presence at all. I had previously been on Facebook, but deactivated my account because I had no interest in most of the people I was “friends” with.
However within the space of a year and a half I have become active on many social networking sites, I have a personal blog and I am a staff writer and editor of geek culture website GeeksUnleashed.Me.
When Mark asked me to write a piece for this project I started to wonder about my radical transformation from a person with no internet presence and being perfectly happy with that situation, to someone who wakes up and within seconds has turned on their phone to check Twitter, Facebook and Wordpress for updates and messages.
I thought back to the moment I entered the world of Twitter and my first tweet. It was 11th February 2011. A date notable for being my birthday, but more importantly this was the day that President Mubarak stepped down in Egypt following 18 days of protest in the Egyptian capital, which had centred on the famous Tahrir Square. I was moved by the scenes of utter joy and celebration in the square as news of Mubarak’s resignation had broken.
I was looking at the various pictures and videos on news websites and felt compelled to share the images and the joy that was being felt at that moment. Of course I told my wife, but she was the only person around. The cat wasn’t interested and short of going out on to the streets and shouting in the manner of an un-appointed town crier I was short of options. That’s when I saw a little icon at the top of the news story on the Guardian website – Tweet this.
So I did.
I joined Twitter that day and shared the joyful scenes in Egypt, just like many thousand others. It felt good. A few tweets later and I was hooked.
Soon after this I started my own personal blog and my internet presence has steadily grown from there.
So what have I gained from becoming involved with social networking and blogging? I could say connections, a direct link to people who influence me, an instant source of news, an effective communication tool, and an easy and instant way to publish some writing. All of those things are true and valid answers but there is another thing I have gained. Friends.
That’s right, friends. I wasn’t quite expecting it either. I always saw the networking part of the term social networking as being more pertinent than the social bit. How wrong I was. I’ve met so many great people from all over the world through Twitter and through my blog and now through my involvement with Geeks Unleashed. Most of the people I interact with on these platforms are mere acquaintances but a large number I have come to see as friends, people I interact with regularly, sometimes on a daily basis.
It is the friends I have made through the internet that I now turn to for writing advice, inspiration and encouragement. And that alone has made it all worthwhile.