This post is going to be unconventional because it is not going to be about a particular person that I met in Columbia. I am going to rave about my Twitter ‘friends’ in this post to keep track of how I became addicted to social media.
On my Twitter account, two-thirds of those, who I’m following and are my followers, are made up of people I had neither never met before nor talked to before in real life. In fact, most of whom I’m following have been added over the last 3 months.
But do I think that these tweeps (twitter peeps) are less ‘real’ than my high school friends? I would say more no and some yes.
I came to Columbia knowing nothing about this place, not even the mayor’s name or that there is a county system in America. As a journalism student, not knowing anything is not very helpful at all.
But social media helped me gain some insights into the talk of the town and the latest developments in town. In the process, I met people who were passionate about their cause, such as @CommericalScott, who campaigned hard for Google to lay high speed optic fibers in this town and @jenleereeves, tech-savvy, new-media assistant professor of the Journalism School. Twitter gave me the opportunity to know a little about who they are before meeting them in real life, only rather recently.
Social media, Twitter in particular, has revolutionized how anyone can make friends with other people. If you lament about the lack of face-to-face contact with your friends, there are various opportunities to meet up with your tweeps(twitter peeps) such as Twestival(Twitter Festival), TweetUp(Twitter users meet-up) etc.
In my case, I’m really excited that I became Jamie Oliver’s follower. I’m unabashed to say that I’m a HUGE fan of his since elementary school. I would sit in front of the TV and watch the Naked Chef series, pretending to smell the food that he was whipping up in his funny British accent. I grew up watching him.
But apart from goggle-box Jamie, I never knew who he really was until I started following him on Twitter. He frequently twitters, especially about his food revolution in the USA and sometimes with pictures of himself in a studio set.
Am I going to meet Jamie Oliver one day? I highly doubt that it would happen. But is it possible to chat with him? Yes it definitely is!
So why am I excited about following Jamie Oliver on Twitter? Because Twitter helps put a personality to Jamie, about what he is doing, what is he thinking about at that moment and what he wants to say for himself. Instead of being a far-fetched, remote British celebrity chef that I once knew, he is very much a human being, with random thoughts, emotions and his own character. (If I tweeted this post out to him, he might reply back to me!)
In about a month’s time, I’ll be leaving Mizzou but the impact of social media has left an indelible mark on my lifestyle. I’m an official TWITTERHOLIC, late in the game but never afraid to start.
Social media is not an end, but a means to meet more people and friends out there that you can never imagine yourself talking to in real life. ROCK ON!
PS: Just added my first secondary school friend @simonelin on Twitter. HYPED!