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Twitter – Not Just For Business.

July 2, 2011

I started using Twitter for business a few years ago, but it has been an unexpectedly huge force in my personal life.

When we moved to Norfolk from London, it was a huge life change.

We knew no one here and were at least 4 hours away from my family and, do you know what? I was lonely.

We met, and now know, hundreds of business people, and I really enjoy what I do, but at times, especially around Christmas and holidays, I have felt so alone.

Five years later, I’ve suddenly realised that I feel settled, happy.

Part of that is because I’ve got to know my neighbours, we’ve ridden out the worst of the recession (I hope) and have got used to a different way of life. But part of it is also down to Twitter.   Twitter provided me with a community – a way to get to know local people, and over the years, as we’ve met up, we’ve got to know them a lot better.

When we moved here, I had intended to join lots of local groups as a way to get to know people, but business and family life always seem to take up my time, and I’ve never joined any. I met Mums on the school gate, but unlike London, where none of us had family so we all relied on each other’s friendship, many of the local mums were settled and had no need to strike up new friendships.

Twitter, however, gets you chatting to like minded people, many of whom are local. Take today, for example. On the spur of the moment, we’ve all arranged to meet in the local pub. No reason, just felt like it. Some people I already know well,and some I know from twitter, but haven’t met yet.

One lady recognised me from my twitter profile when we got on a train to London together, and another lady recognised me when I was in the market one Saturday – I’d dashed out of the house in scruffy clothes and unwashed hair, and she came up to me saying “Are you Sara?”

The sense of community on twitter may seem superficial to the cynical, but equally you get to know things about people – their hobbies, interests and views, that you might not find out otherwise. Unless they are just “broadcasting” tweets, or one of the “silent observers” you do get a feel for who they are.

Twitter suits me because I am not naturally gregarious. Although I’m comfortable with business networking and meeting people in a business context, when it comes to social situations, I’m not the life and soul of the party. I go back to schoolgirl mode, feeling socially inadequate. Twitter provides a way to overcome that and provides common ground when meeting people socially.

What are your feelings about twitter? How has twitter helped you?

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