Later this month I will have been on Twitter for five years. When I signed up to it, purely with the intent of reserving my name, I never would have guessed the positive impact it would have on my life.
The biggest impact has been on my career. I've been lucky to have learnt and continue to learn from the many brilliant, intelligent people who share useful content on it every day. I've recruited staff through it and been recruited myself from the connections I've made. It has helped me introduce social media to three housing organisations and it gave me the confidence to set up this blog and share what I've learned. It's allowed me to speak at conferences and seminars and I've developed a deep love for social media in general.
On a personal level, I've made some wonderful friends. Some of whom I see regularly offline, some of whom I've never met but still feel a close bond to from thousands of conversations over the years.
Twitter itself has changed over that time. Now it feels more commercial and less intimate than the heady days of 2008 and in some ways, I miss feeling like I knew everyone on it personally. I don't remember ever hearing about trolls and, in fact, I remember being amazed at how kind and generous people were on it. If you needed to borrow something, generally you could find someone who'd lend it to you.
Now Twitter is bigger than ever, what's it has lost in intimacy has been made up for in the ease of connecting with millions of people and organisations. It has become an eco-system in its own right, breaking news stories, narrating scandals and becoming the go-to social network whenever you want to find something out.
Thank you, Twitter, for an amazing five years; you are still the first thing I check in the morning.