Someone told me recently, quite emphatically, “you can’t make real friends on Twitter”.
I’ve been on Twitter since August 2008, thanks to @audaciousgloop, when he was down here from Auckland presenting to a Marketing Association lunch on Social Media. I’ve known him in real life for several years, so I guess that doesn’t count, as he pre-dates my Twitter-life. But since then, I’ve added about 350 or so people I follow and almost 500 people follow me (why they follow me, I have no idea really, but it’s their choice)
And how many of those people are actual friends? I guess that depends on your definition of a friend. But considering the person who made the claim about not making real friends, believes he can call people a “mate” after only talking to them face-to-face for 2 minutes, I guess that’s open to fairly wide interpretation.
So, what is a friend? For me, it’s someone I have some kind of connection with, something in common, a shared interest…something like that. And someone I like and trust.
Twitter is an interesting tool for making connections. That’s how I see it and use it. It allows me to understand what other people think, what they do and how they connect with other people. It allows me to control the level of connection. And if I choose to make that connection offline as well, then we don’t have to start from scratch with the basic introductions….we already know stuff about each other.
@Beady_Eye_Anita and I connected online over two years ago. She’s rugby mad – like me, but even more so! We connected offline after I got asked to take part in a uni project about female rugby fans, and I suggested that she take part too. And we met for the first time across the table in the Canterbury Uni sociology department, and our friendship grew from there. And two years later, I consider her a really good friend, my first real Twitter friend. I would never have met her if it weren’t for Twitter. And my life would be less interesting without her in it.
She’s one of many people I’ve met offline since then. You may well be one of them. And if you are – thank you for allowing me into your real world. Thank you for being my real friend.
And here are some of my real Twitter friends….well they look pretty real to me!
(L-R) @redcantab, @richardsd, @nickmackechnie, @petemarcroft, me, @kalena, @nztechtweet
thanks to @kalena for the pic! And the sofa bed.