My Life, 5000 Tweets Later

On Monday January 15, 2007, ten thousand chickens were incinerated by Japanese authorities in fear of Bird Flu. The trial of six men accused of the July 21, 2005 London bombings began. Babel and Dreamgirls won Golden Globes. Colombian police arrested “Don Hugo” suspected leader of the Norte del Valle syndicate, the “most powerful and violent drug-trafficking organization in Colombia” was arrested. And I joined Twitter.

My first tweet wasn’t for few months, I think. I tend to do that kind of thing; sign up for a new site that I hear the alpha nerds talking about to ensure that I get the username I want, veganstraightedge. Then later, if that site turns to be super duper, I try it out further. I can’t tell you what my first toot actually was, because (at the time of this writing) Twitter’s pagination only goes back 160 pages. I should have 250 pages of archived toots. Shame on you, Twitter.

Like most people, I didn’t get the value of Twitter at first. I probably said things like “Trying out Twtter, don’t quite get it” and “I just ate lunch. Yum!” or some version of the requisite first toots. Eli was the first of my IRL friends to join up too. That’s typical, though. He’s definitely the nerdiest of my friends. With one friend on there, it started to make more sense. I was experiencing Metcalfe’s Law first hand.

At the time, Twitter was still the realm of web nerds. I followed maybe 30 people, got all of their updates as txts and occasionally even looked at the public feed which was still kind of interesting then. I followed people like John Gruber, Jason Kottke and Ariel Waldman Dan Benjamin and other nerds whose blogs I read.

Suffice to say, I was a lurker. I consumed others’ toots, but didn’t post any of my own. I didn’t get it yet. I hadn’t found my killer app. Then I decided to go meet some friends in New Zealand when they got out of Antarctica. I thought Twitter would be the perfect solution to the problem of (I don’t ever keep up with my written journal when traveling) + (I want to document what I do) + (I don’t want to travel with my laptop when ‘backpacking’) * (if only I could publish to the web from my phone). It did indeed.

I rented a crappy Nokia brick from Vodaphone at the Christchurch airport for a month. It was great. That trip was my lightest packing ever. When I returned to the states at LAX I weighed by bag. I had refactored down to 11 pounds (4.99 kilograms). This was largely made possible by a minimal gadget set: Ricoh GRD, iPhone (first gen) and Nokia. I think Eli nailed it while he was on a passenger train traveling thru rural Thailand, he was able to publish to the internet… from his phone… from a txt message. Game. Changer.

After that trip of twittering, I was hooked.

Since signing up, I’ve twittered about traveling to New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii. About going to Chile for a month. About getting arrested for taking a picture of an open ATM at a Seattle REI store. It’s got me job leads and an offer to do a TV show. I’ve made a couple dozen accounts for different projects that I’ve been a part of: Rubinius, Seattle.rb, Less Than Three, The Vegan Straightedge blog, Vegan and/or Straightedge AV Club. I made one for my dog Civ too. In the summer of 2009 I lived in my van and traveled around the country for a few months twittering about all details along the way. I’ve reconnected with old friends keeping up with their lives better than before. I’ve made new friends and accomplices with countless schemes (and lisps) yet to unfold.

The Twitterwebs even played a crucial role in Stacey becoming my girlfriend. That’s a story for another post though.

What I’m trying to say is, I know you don’t care what I had for breakfast (tofu scramble, fakin bacon and french toast) or what music I’m listening to (Sand Castle by Beta Minus Mechanic) or that I think some website has pretty pictures and that’s OK with me. Or maybe you do care. I don’t know. You choose your own level of involvement in Project Playhem. Twitter is part of my everyday life now. Just like Flickr, Twitter acts as my kind of journal that I share publicly (nod) and my life is better for it.

Thank you, Twitter. See you at ten thousand incinerated chickens, I mean tweets.

5000 Tweets Strong

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