I'm inspired by the insightful article Twitter is my Village by Laura Fitton of Pistachio Consulting Inc. She writes:
"For me, connecting on Twitter with someone I’ve just met in person is inviting them to live in “my village.” Follow-up won’t be limited to the “nice meeting you” email cul-de-sac. On Twitter, we’ll cross paths incidentally and without pressure. I may bump into them “around town” for maybe a word or two at the “coffee shop” or “post office.” Over time we may discover common interests (aka social objects) in each others’ tweets, and connect more deeply as neighbors or friends."
What a great analogy. For me, Twitter has become a new and rich neighborhood of individuals and groups to chat with and bump into as well. The 'without pressure' part is key too. It's nice to be able to watch as people stroll by each evening, and overhear snippets of conversation. Then being able to dabble in and join in any, all or none of them.
The feeling becomes even more like a neighborhood when random words become heartfelt moments, moments of tragedy and support. Laura writes about Ashley Spencer, @ashPEAmama, and the tragic accident that took her life. The village feel really applies there as well, with Ashley being a neighbor from around the block for me instead of another village. What's wonderful is what happened next. Another of my neighbors, Dan Mosqueda, @mosqueda, came out with a fund raiser for her family. That fund raiser collected $5000 in just a few days, and is on it's way to $6000. All that from the generosity of neighbors.
So you can see perhaps that Twitter may be just another social networking tool, but it really allows for more community than some may find on the real life street. Not the only amazing thing I've seen recently either.
Susan Reynolds, another friend, was recently diagnosed with cancer. Within weeks of that, Twitter friends got together an online fund raiser site, and have now raised thousands of dollars for cancer research.
Like other neighborhoods, there are more than tragedies. In my neck of the Twitterverse, there have been births, marriage proposals, spontaneous get together's at local pubs, and folks that traveled across the country to meet for a cup of coffee. It's truly provided a wealth of friend and partnership opportunities. Heck, I may have met a future employer or coworker online. That remains to be seen, but what better place than your own neighborhood to meet someone like that.
Take care, and Twitter if you dare.