I have never been to Twitterland. For some reason, that cheerful little blue bird symbol and the high-pitched chirping sounds I associate with it have never inspired me for any further discovery. I do love to explore new territories. But at my own pace. Often after the crowds have already been there. I’m a Facebook native and a frequent business visitor to LinkedIn. These days, I navigate along the shores of WordPress quite confidently. I’m also known to indulge in the occasional weekend trip to Pinterest. Twitter is a completely new destination for me. I’m unfamiliar with its culture and I don’t speak the language.
As usual, I make the decision to travel quickly. I ask a friend fluent in tweeting for advice, but don’t actually wait around to get the tips before leaving. At the risk of being exposed to the usual tourist scams and rip-offs, I simply pack a light carry-on bag and take off. I’m trusting I’ll be fine. I’m street-smart. Upon entering, the Twitter immigration produces previous information on me. There are no specific entry requirements. The officer recognises me from my avatar: “Welcome to Twitter, @MrsNiklasson from London, I see you reside at mrsniklasson.wordpress.com”. Oh yes, I forgot, I passed through a year or so ago, but never stayed.
My Twitter landscape looks very limited. It’s dominated by a certain @stephenfry. I realise he’s the only person I follow. Appearing on my home page in real time, he seems to be broadcasting 20-odd short burst messages a day. I want more diversity and decide to go sightseeing. I can locate friends by importing my contacts. As I am looking to discover interesting new locals, I resort to browsing categories and looking at trends. Finding one interesting Twitter source leads me to uncover who they follow online. Suddenly, the entire Twitter population is within my reach. Their voices and opinions at my perusal, available in my personalised news feed.
I quickly reach 100 Twitter inhabitants to follow. I’m hoping these natives to be my travel guides. Aren’t the basics of both the language and customs easy to learn, if you practice active listening and observation? Hashtags, mentions, handles, retweets, favourites, geotags, lists. I’m curious by nature and love discovering paths in unfamiliar terrains. The limitation of 140 characters in communication appeals to my Finnish directness and passion love for simplicity. Sure, I’m yet to describe myself in 160 or fewer characters, but I’m ready to tweet! Please bear with me when I conjugate a verb incorrectly, bungle the grammar or mispronounce words while mastering the Twitter lingo. Tweet, tweet.