10 things I’ve gained from using Twitter

By Caitlin Kelly

I know…we were all supposed to have fled to Hive or Tribel or Mastodon or somewhere…oh yeah, Post, where I’m wait-listed.

No question, since Elon Musk bought Twitter, a lot of great people have fled for other platforms. For now, not me.

I started using Twitter in 2014 and still use it daily.

As one wise social media expert says — social media only amplifies who we really are. If you’re a jerk in real life, you’re a bigger, louder and more visible jerk on social media.

Here are 10 things I’ve found of value:

Access to extraordinary archeology finds, whether mosaics, Roman ruins or the oddments found on the Thames foreshore by mudlarkers liker Laura Maiklem. I’m passionate about material history, and not just that owned by royalty or the wealthy, the stuff that tends to fill museums. Laura finds things like 16th century pins or Tudor shoe soles. Amazing!

Stunning works of art. One of my treasured follows is Canadian paintings, with a wide array of art, curated by an elementary school teacher who remains anonymous. Alexandra Epps posts from London and even the man whose artwork graced the cover of Elton John’s album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Ian Archie Beck. posts his lovely contemporary work as well.

Stunning wildlife and nature photography, from Scotland, Iceland, Namibia and more.

Birders! My feed recently was filled with amazing close-ups of a saw-whet, a barred owl and a great horned owl — all in Manhattan’s Central Park.

A better appreciation for the many challenges of people with chronic illness and disabilities. There’s a lot of conversation there. Hence I learned the word “spoons” and its meaning.

I’ve made friends far away — like an archeologist in Berlin I had lunch with in July 2017 on my first visit there, and an editor near London who sent me to a colleague in Helsinki (!) who assigned me a great story. I “know” a farmer’s wife in Saskatchewan, an Australian living in France, a marketing maven in Guatemala. Not sure how I might ever have encountered them otherwise.

I recently set up a three-way, three-nation Zoom with two Twitter pals — one in England and one in Montreal and me in NY — to practice our Spanish!

Amazingly — a gorgeous box of homemade shortbread, made using a 100 year old mold — arrived this week from a Twitter pal in Ontario. YUM!

The most up-to-date information on COVID, through a network of health care workers and virologists. The government has basically given up. I see highly informative threads on matters like long COVID, handheld devices to measure a room’s Co2, and boxes used for filtration.

Almost daily I see work opportunities, some full-time and many for freelance work.

I really enjoy Twitterchats, although I only participate now in two, one for freelancers and one focused on travel. They meet every week on the same day at the same time, drawing fellow enthusiasts. The travel one, run by a man living in Nairobi, draws people from Vancouver, Dundee, Malawi, Kazakhstan! I always learn about a place I’d like to visit (like Jordan) and am able to share many of my own travel tips, having been to 41 countries and lived in five.

Thanks to direct messaging, I’ve been able to access some information I need and couldn’t really have gotten with a cold email. I’ve found it socially and professionally helpful.

I’ve been lucky — rarely trolled or bullied. And I don’t hesitate to mute or block!

Do you use Twitter?

Has it been useful to you?

9 thoughts on “10 things I’ve gained from using Twitter

  1. It’s kind of strange but I’ve used each of my social media sites for different things. Twitter was my preference for news. I could glance at my Twitter page and know immediately what’s going on with the world, science and technology. I rarely interacted with people on it and haven’t even added friends or family to that platform because I didn’t want to water down my news thread.

    1. I get it.

      I use it for news, for sure…although I don’t have to know breaking news. Just curious. I tend not to follow a lot of other people (which might offend some when I don’t follow back.) I love to travel so I follow some hotel/resort/tourism sites.

  2. I still use Twitter, though I don’t know how long that’ll last. I’ve met many good people there, friends who I continue to correspond with daily on other platforms. And it’s been fun to take part in certain online movements like the #SaveLucifer campaign. I just wish Musk hadn’t taken over it, because now the platform’s dark side seems to be growing exponentially, and I don’t know if I want to stay.
    And if I leave, I hope quality on Hive gets better. The influx of people has really strained the system, so with time, I hope it gets better, but right now, I’m using it less because of those systems.

  3. sounds like you have had a wonderful experience with twitter, and it’s enriched your life in many ways. I have an account but rarely use it, though I know many people love it.

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