It must have been fate.
Three years ago today, at about 3 in the afternoon, I climbed the stairs to see the guys in Marketing. They were busy, having fun writing what sounded like limericks. I asked what they were doing and was told they were trying to summarise their lives in 140 characters.
Why? I asked.
We’re going to start using Twitter. They said. Going to try it out, see how we can use it internally and also externally to connect with clients and candidates. It’s going to be big so we want to get in there and try it early. Why don’t you join in?
Oh, I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it. And that was it; I gave it no more thought.
But it nagged away at me, and later that night, 2nd February 2009, I set up a Twitter page. Far too timid to call myself @mervyndinnen I called myself @mervino , a nickname which Callum Saunders gave me.
And I tweeted. It was a nonsense tweet about the football transfer window which was closing that night and it was about a player Arsenal were about to sign. But I hit send and waited. And waited. But nobody spoke back to me.
Undeterred I tweeted again the next day and followed my marketing colleagues. And Stephen Fry. My marketing colleagues talked back to me but Stephen Fry didn’t.
Timid days and I didn’t know where it would lead. But I stuck with it. And since then I’ve tweeted a lot more, changed my name to @mervyndinnen and had fun. And it’s been good to me. It’s helped me do lots of things:
- I’ve met lots of friends.
- And I’ve talked to many more people.
- It’s helped get me a job.
- It’s helped me get my son two jobs.
- I’ve been camping twice with people I met on Twitter
- I’ve been to the US twice for conferences with lots of people I met on Twitter.
- I’ve been to many conferences and unconferences.
- I speak at conferences.
- And I’ve chaired conferences.
- I’ve been on BBC News as a talking head.
- I’ve been to gigs with people I met on Twitter.
- I get to wear a press pass at conferences.
- I’ve learned lots.
- I’ve read loads of really interesting blogs.
- I’ve watched (and helped) ConnectingHR grow from an idea to a fully-fledged, living, breathing, hugging community…that debates as well.
- And I’ve been able to connect with people who are passionate about the things that I’m passionate about.
- I’ve re-connected with ex-colleagues and with old friends.
- I’ve encouraged as many people as I can to get involved.
It’s not just my conversation platform, it’s my news feed. It’s the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at in the evening.
When I posted my first tweet I was following the close of the football transfer window. I was glued to Sky Sports and the BBC website waiting for news.
When the transfer window closed on 31st August 2011 I was in the bar of the City Hotel the night before TruLondon4. I had just taken part in an HR Happy Hour blog talk radio show with our two visiting American guests. I didn’t need to follow the TV or the website. My Tweetdeck Arsenal column contains fans in the know, fans that are shareholders and run supporters associations, freelance journalists and press journalists. In short, I knew who my team were and weren’t signing before the TV announced it. And I knew facts around a transfer that weren’t mentioned in the media for another two days.
Alongside the many people I follow who impact on my working life, extended networks and my on-going learning and enlightenment I also follow politicians, political bloggers, authors, artists, musicians, DJs, singers, actors, clergymen and presenters. I follow their debates and they do (sometimes) talk back. One of the authors that I follow turned out to a relative!
I think it’s fair to say that Twitter and Me are in a relationship.
Happy 3rd anniversary!
Tell me what it means to you…