As the mother of small children, it is very easy for me to find myself living in an ever-shrinking world. With a daily routine of school, play-group and work, punctured by the occasional holiday, life can get very small. The people I meet are parents at the school gates, or colleagues in the office. It is difficult making friends as a grown up.
As part of my 35:35 Challenge, I joined Twitter and it has changed the relationship I have with the city I live in. My world is expanding again.
Last Friday, I met fifteen people for drinks and dinner. Of that fifteen, only one was a friend in real life. One was the lovely Abi, who I’d met once before and the rest were strangers to me and in most cases to each other, apart from our relationship on Twitter. Strangers who managed to chat effortlessly for an entire evening, resulting in me finally tipping my cocktail-and-steak filled self into bed after midnight. Excellent.
Not only has Twitter resulted in cocktails, it has sent me to Bettakultcha, Playful Leeds, and ‘Homage to Fromage‘ cheese club. I’ve been introduced to a whole new world in the city that I’ve lived in since 2003, and never even knew existed. One of creative spirits, independent retailers, small scale events covering every subject under the sun, and of people who endlessly inspire me. It’s a great thing for someone like me who is interested in everything. The main problem I have now is fitting it all into my life, and that is another story altogether. Next on the list of things I’d like to try are are LeedsLetters and the knitting-and-cocktails group, Yarnia. It’s knitting and cocktails! I think we’ve discovered through my inability to crochet, that knitting and I are never going to be great friends but I think I’ll feel a lot more optimistic about the whole thing with a drink or two. At the very least I’ll feel more creative, even if I can’t even cast on.
When I tell people that Twitter has changed my life, there are two main responses. From the group of people who have never used Twitter, there is a raising of the eyebrows and a bit of poorly-disguised sniggering. From the other group, who are as addicted to it as I am, there is a knowing nod. To use Twitter the way I now use it, you need to follow local, real people, not celebrities. You need to talk and ask questions. You need to get involved and turn up to events. Social media is often blamed for preventing people from forming proper relationships and reducing ability to make true connections.
The people who say this clearly weren’t at our table on Friday night…