I remember the day I got on Twitter for the very first time in March of 2009. It was all so strange to me at first. I don’t know how I found @cheth, but he was one of the very first people that I followed, and I’m so happy that today he and I are still such great friends. I watched him and learned.
Through @cheth, I found @mistygirlph who is my best friend on Twitter now. She is as close to me as any non-Twitter friend and I just love her so much. Through @mistygirlph, I met @Minervity, which is how I am blessed to be able to write for Bit Rebels. It is all a chain reaction full of fun and memories.
I dream about someday taking a trip around the world to visit all the friends I’ve made on Twitter. However, when you first get started on Twitter, it can be a little lonely. You send tweets and sometimes it feels like they just go into outer space and you wonder if anyone ever even reads them. I remember those days very well.
I also remember that there are certain milestones that will encourage you and make you feel like you are making progress along the way. Some people will say these aren’t milestones because they aren’t that big of a deal, but when you are new to Twitter, these things are a big deal, they can brighten your whole day, so I will refer to them as milestones. :)
1. The first time you are retweeted
Even today, I get that warm fuzzy feeling every time I’m retweeted. Just like @iconic88, @AskAaronLee, @AlexKaris, @Flipbooks and many others have tweeted, “Love on Twitter is spelled RT.” The first time you are RT’ed is extra special. It’s just the best feeling in the whole world. It means someone not only read your tweet but they liked it! This was a huge milestone for me.
2. The first time you receive a Mr. Tweet recommendation
2011 update: Mr. Tweet flew away forever. The service is now retired. *sniff sniff* I’m still leaving this in here though for all the fun memories. A Mr. Tweet recommendation is when someone actually takes the time to recommend you to other people on Twitter by writing a tweet to Mr. Tweet. You can check that out here: http://mrtweet.com/recommend. I am hugely humbled every time I get a Mr. Tweet recommendation, and the fist time it happened, I was giddy for a week. It is one of the nicest things someone can do for another tweep. If you know of someone that deserves a Mr. Tweet recommendation, try it! It’s super fun and they will get a tweet right away alerting them that you did that, and it will definitely make them smile.
3. The first time you donate your time, money or add something to your avatar for a cause you believe in
The first time you do this, it is very personal and powerful. It is the magic of social media when important causes are spread through the twitterverse and people respond. The first time this happened to me was when over 200,000 people made their avatars green to support democracy in Iran last year. I also participated and it was an emotional experience for me. Since then, I’ve supported Charity Water and the Red Cross because of Twitter. When you reach this level of respect for the information you receive on Twitter, it feels like a milestone.
4. The first time you realize you have found a true friend on Twitter
There is a special moment, a milestone that you reach, when you wake up one day and look forward to tweeting with someone you’ve met on Twitter. You get to know details about their life and you develop a real friendship. That moment is when Twitter stops being just another form of social media and it becomes personal. The quote, “I love my computer because my friends live in it,” is my sentiment exactly. I use the hashtag #ilovemytwitterfriends a lot, because I do. I included the Twitter search link on that hashtag so you can check it out for yourself and feel the love!
5. The first time you find out news faster than anyone else you know because of Twitter
This one is huge. The first time this happens to you personally, suddenly you will gain the respect of your non-Twitter friends that have teased you for being on Twitter. This happened to me when Michael Jackson died. I knew it before any of my other friends did and even though it was such a sad event, it was a testament to how powerful and fast news travels on Twitter. To say it’s in “real time” doesn’t really even describe how fast it is. It’s mind blowing really.
6. The first time you start using an app to up your Twitter game
Almost everyone I know uses Twitter on the web for a while before deciding to use another app like Tweetdeck or Seesmic. I use Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Tweetcaster, iTweet, etc… I’ve tried a bunch of them. Once you start messing around with these and going out of your way to enhance your Twitter experience, it’s a milestone. It means you are serious and you are ready to start filtering your tweets and taking control of the continuous flow of information in your stream. I recommend this to everyone.
7. The first time you receive a #followfriday
Although “follow friday” doesn’t have the same meaning now that it did a year ago, it is still very special and a huge milestone the first time you see that in your mentions on Twitter. Not everyone that participates in #followfriday is a spammer, there are still a lot of genuine, heartfelt recommendations being sent on Fridays and every single one of them is still so special to me. I read all of them and it melts my heart. I remember my very first one. I can’t remember the username of the person that gave me my first #ff, but I can see his avatar in my mind. I will never forget that feeling, it’s so special.
8. The first time you hit “1,000” of anything
There is something special about the number 1,000 on Twitter. Whether you have 1,000 followers, or you’ve sent 1,000 tweets, or you are following 1,000 people, when you see that number 1,000 on your screen, there is something about it that makes you smile. Although I don’t place much weight in the numbers themselves, it is still a milestone because it is evidence that you are active and making progress along the way. I remember when I sent my 1,000th tweet, I thought, “Wow, how could I have said that much?” Now, I have sent over 25,000 tweets, which to me, pretty much just means I talk too much (I do that off Twitter too. tee hee).
9. The first time someone you really admire or respect sends you a tweet
This person might be someone that you’ve been following for a while, or perhaps it’s a celebrity or someone that is high profile in business. Either way, when you get a tweet from that person, it feels better than Christmas morning, ok, maybe not that good, but close! For me, it was when @Alyssa_Milano sent me a tweet for the first time. I almost fell out of my chair. I couldn’t believe it. I was completely freaking out. To this day, I have that tweet saved in my “favorites.” Now I consider Alyssa to be a very special friend and an integral part of the twitterverse, but I can’t bring myself to delete that first tweet. There are just so many happy memories wrapped up in those 140 characters.
10. The first time someone asks you for Twitter advice
The first time anyone asks you for advice about anything, it means they think you know what’s up, right? I had someone ask my advice about HTML the other day and I was so happy. It’s a milestone. It’s the same thing on Twitter. Once someone asks you for advice, you know that you are doing something right. The first time this happened to me, I was humbled and realized that it is truly possible to make an impact on others on Twitter after all.
Thank you to @MarcyVF for the fantastic header image http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcyvf/4477055910
Thank you all for your great pictures also!