10 things I've learnt from #10 years on Twitter
Earlier last week I got a notification that marked my 10th Twitter Anniversary. 10 years of being on Twitter, an entire decade. This feels like a milestone and so I thought it would be great to share the top ten things I've learned from Twitter over this past decade.
Get jobs in DMs - Sliding into DMs typically has a negative connotation to it but strangely enough I've been able to make professional connections and get work through twitter DMs. The number of conversations that start with hi, my name is xxx and I appreciate your content/what you do. I’ve gotten two serious jobs from my DMs and value the community I’ve built.
Shoot your shot and make friends on Twitter - Aside from creating professional networks, twitter has been great for meeting like minded people interested in the same things and topics.There’s a number of people I’ve connected with first on twitter because of similar interest topics that have since extended to in person friendships.
Online advocacy - It goes without saying that the power of civil advocacy on the platform is impactful. It's been great to see how over the past several years, Twitter has shifted from being just a fun spot but also a tool for advocacy. #EndSars in Nigeria comes top of mind. A special one for me in Kenya was killing the ICT bill in 2016 where we lobbied, engaged and got buy-in to let go of the ICT Practitioners Bill. It's great to feel a sense of belonging and have impact.
How fast news spreads - With increased internet penetration, there has been an increase in engagement online and while radio remains the most dominant form of media transmission across Africa, the place of social media is undeniable. I know a number of people who derive their news from twitter. Information has been democratized and the internet has facilitated its spread. Just think of the current Russia - Ukraine situation.
That Twitter isn't 100% representative of the people - There's a running joke about #KOT elections vs elections kwenye ground. We’ve even had politicians make jokes on this, but while you’re in this space, it’s easy to loose sight of the realities on the ground and time after time I keep reminding myself that the world’s reality isn’t all on Twitter.
Memories and bookmarks - Over the past years new features have been added on to the platform and one of my faves is the bookmarks tab. The ability to save interesting content that you like and can come back to is an absolute fave past time of mine.
Control what you see - One of my favorite things about social media is the freedom of choice. You elect and select who to friend and follow, whose content to see and engage with, you can mute things that you don’t want to see and while the algorithms aren’t perfect, you can curate and elect what you see.
Active presence in Africa - In my other life I used to do digital marketing and I remember how difficult it was to buy ads on Twitter. There was one agency company based out of SA and it wasn't smooth at all. Years later we've seen Twitter build not only an active online presence and community, but a physical one too! Also, check out @TwitterGhana A VIBE!
The goal is not to be the subject - One of my pals @Kiruti has for his pinned tweet this post that says each day, someone new is the subject on Twitter and the goal is not to be it and yo, how true that is.
The Double edged sword and - Having been in the tech space for a while and privy to a gazillion tech policy conversations we always say that the online world is an extension of the offline and real world. And while good thrives and is the ideal, unfortunately so is bad. I have enjoyed seeing how certain spaces on twitter have become a safe space that brings out our humanity. I’ve seen people call out bad behavior on behalf of others, I’ve seen us pull together and empathetically share love, care and concern when loved ones are lost. I’ve seen us say, ‘I’m sorry that happened to you’ or ‘I’m sorry for your loss’. I’ve also seen us celebrate wins for people we barely know and celebrate accomplishments after hard times.
I love how real the space has become over the past 10 years and I look forward to many more!
I got the chance to watch my first Broadway show recently and oh my, it was absolutely breathtaking.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. - Desiderata
P.s. despite having this draft post as a work in progress last Sunday, I made the subconscious choice to not put it up. I simply was not in a position to and I chose to extend grace to myself. Have a great week y'all!