Twitter Love

This is possibly the most sentimental posting in my blog to date so you’ve been warned…

It is now two and a half years since I first joined Twitter. To be honest, I had never been a fan of social network sites as most appeared to be primarily aimed at the very young or those with seemingly too much time on their hands! It was therefore with some trepidation and cynicism that I set up my Twitter account and for the first year, I struggled to attract many interesting followers or indeed establish any lasting rapport.

This fact was mainly down to me as I only tweeted periodically and despite being generally computer savvy, I never fully grasped how Twitter worked. That can only be attributed to laziness on my part, but eventually I was lured by the #followfriday hashtag and decided to click on a few named recommendations. At this point, I was venturing into the unknown without any pre-conceived expectations but to my surprise and joy, a few people responded to my following with a welcoming ‘hello’.

From that point on, I began to attract more followers as they themselves were already following the people now following me. We all know that this is a mushroom effect, and eventually it levels off. For my part, Twitter is not a numbers game, as it’s the quality of the people who follow rather than the number which is sacrosanct to me. Whilst I soon built up a loyal band of followers, many of whom I tweeted with on an almost daily basis, I hadn’t realised the number of people who actually took an interest in what I posted. However, over seven months ago, I posted a casual tweet about my mum being involved in a serious road traffic accident, and I was overwhelmed with messages of goodwill and support.

Such a response immediately made me see Twitter in a new light. It wasn’t simply a means of passing general comment and humour, but a family of people who actually cared about others and were not afraid to show that. People whom I follow embrace all ages, backgrounds and diversity and it is that which makes Twitter so special. Those closest to me on Twitter will know that my life isn’t a bed of roses, and whilst I have no wish to burden others with my problems, there are some lovely people who are always there for me to chat and offer their love and support. No names shall be mentioned but if they’re reading this, they will know who they are… and it’s probably YOU!

When we come into this world, most of us are brought into an extended family. As we grow, we automatically become a part of that family but that does not necessarily mean that we enjoy their company. Furthermore many families become fragmented, either because of work or disharmony. People therefore choose friends to form their ideal family, but often these also fragment because of factors beyond their control. To me, good friendship is the most important thing in life and it disturbs me when so-called friends desert you in an hour of need. I have always strived to put friends first but in real life this has rarely been reciprocated.

And so back to Twitter! I firmly believe that I have a true family of friends here and it would be no understatement to say that Twitter has changed my life… for the good I hasten to add! I’ve already met several wonderful people as a result of this social networking phenomenen and I love you all more than you might imagine. My aim is to meet many more in the months ahead as Twitter… you rock!

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Common Courtesy

Another brief trip down memory lane…

Exactly seven years ago this month, most days seemed endless and extremely boring. I was in the early stages of living life without gainful employment and even though I would often grumble about the daily routine of work, it does give a purpose to each day. With typical dull, cold and wet British weather, I had little incentive to venture out of doors, thereby exacerbating an already strenuous situation. Almost daily, my life was taken up with searching for new employment. For anyone not over familiar with this task, it is an extremely time-consuming and wearisome occupation, endlessly scanning the plethora of job sites available on the internet. One of the most frustrating things I discovered was that jobs were not classified under sufficient headings, so in order to find potential opportunities, it was necessary to search under almost every category. Once the slowness of page downloads was taken into account, the hours of the day quickly passed by! Of course, this was in the days before ADSL broadband connectivity was widely available!

In order to try and numb my boredom, I participated in the National IQ Test 2003 via interactive television. This was the one bright spark in a gloomy month… Normally, I’m not one to blow my own trumpet (perhaps that’s where I have been going wrong in life!) but I achieved an IQ of 136 which compared very favourably with the national average of 105! This was also in a period when the average IQ had been falling.

With only twelve days of employment remaining, it was very evident that certain people were keeping their distance. It never ceases to amaze me just how many individuals see a person for what they do rather than for who they are; indeed, inconveniences such as a period of unemployment (through no fault of my own, incidentally!) can prove to be a real test of true friendship.

Looking back, I made one of my final day trips to France. This was predominantly for the purpose of stocking up on some cheap booze…I anticipated being in need of copious quantities to drown my sorrows! There was also time to enjoy some of the local scenery in close proximity to Calais and the weather was fine, in marked contrast to that in Britain at the time. I stated that it was one of my final day trips for several reasons. Firstly, the costs of such day trips are now much higher since the abolition of cheap day ferry tickets. Secondly, the cost of alcohol in this country is now comparatively lower than several years ago, and thirdly, I no longer live within reasonable travelling distance of Dover for the short crossing to northern France. The trip from my local port takes in excess of 6 hours and lands in Brittany!

A final word on the subject of seeking new employment. I found it both frustrating and extremely discourteous that companies seemingly ignored applications and correspondence. Even jobs applied for via e-mail failed to generate a response, despite the fact that it takes but a few seconds to acknowledge a communication with minimal cost. Incidentally, nothing has improved with regard to replies from companies as recent experience will testify. Perhaps I am old fashioned and expect too much from people, but if more common courtesy was extended between human beings, then the world would be a far better place.