Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Year on Twitter: Social Network or a Community?

A year ago on the 26th of September last year I signed up for Twitter account, this was following a discussion with a mate of mine who told me that outdoor gear retailers put up short notice sales on kit. Once I created my twitter name I started my trawl through the accounts looking for retailers/suppliers/manufacturers to follow, of which there are a few. 

I've never been a social networker, my wife is on Facebook and has been for sometime but I have never been drawn to it and from the intermittent commentary I get from my other half I was happy with that.
Once I was unleashed on the Twitterverse I gradually found other outdoor folks from all over the UK and beyond! These people share a common interest - the outdoors! Whether it be being outdoors, gear, routes, events, charity or protecting wild places the conversations I eavesdrop, and sometimes gatecrash, on a daily basis have something of interest for me everyday. It may just be a conversation or it could be a route idea. The photographs from some of my stalkees are outstanding. Then there's the gear. Latest, releases, reviews and advice from other tweeps. If I'm honest twitter has brought the whole UL/SUL movement to my eye, that has been an education, one I'm not quite mastered but have learned from.

I have lost evenings and ended up having a few early am bedtimes due to continuing conversations. You could say I spend to much time scanning through my timeline but this is where Twitter has changed, for me, from a network to community. I have become engrossed with the seeing how all these avatars I view daily are getting on out there. I converse with others but sometimes I just people watch. That's the beauty of the tweets. It feels like you get to know these faces from behind a smartphone.

Courtesy of Michael Thomson

It has also brought new "friends", along the way I have met up with a few folks in real life! I have had coffee, done lunch, day hiked and wild camped with people I "talk" to daily. These meet ups were strangely very natural. Again, the common factor - a passion for mountains and the outdoors.

I will continue to use Twitter primarily. This blog has developed from this medium and I have now found myself on Google+ and, to the surprise of some, even Facebook. My greatest find has been Social Hiking, this has been something I use to document the paths (and unmarked tracks) I have travelled. 

I have simple rules when it comes to following people; as long as you are involved in the outdoors then I will follow back. Currently there is one person that is contrary to that rule but that will change in the future. Eh, Mrs Wright?

I would like to thank all the people that are part of this community. My first Twitter year has been eventful and hopefully that will continue.

Thanks, Tweet, Tweet :-)