Every time I send a tweet I think about who might be reading it, where it is going, what the purpose of it is and what it means. I think of it visually. With my functional tweets or work-based tweets I am trying to spread a message laterally, seeding information in a network, passing a baton, threads or droplets running in all directions talking to each other.
With my more personal tweets, oddly, it’s somewhat different. I am not trying to target anybody or communicate collectively to a certain type or group. My personal tweets are often work related or light hearted, but when I occasionally post poems, thoughts, mini-insights, it’s more like sending up a flare vertically into the sky. It might be seen, or it might not, depending on who is looking my way.
As with all writing, in the end, a tweet is an attempt to make contact with others – but what’s exciting about Twitter is that it is a specific form of writing specifically designed ONLY to connect people to each other. Tweeting is never introverted. Every tweet has an origin and a destination, and is designed to be portable, to be handed from person to person and shared. Each tweet is an enormously gregarious writing moment.
In that spirit, I’m attending #yorkshirehourlive next week, a Twitter networking event inspired by #yorkshirehour. #YorkshireHour is the mother of all Twitter networking hours, covering a vast area and reaching astronomical levels of use on Wednesday night (and indeed, throughout the week.)
#YorkshireHour has been a successful phenomenon partly due to the work of host Angie Aspinall @Aspinall_Ink and co-founder @RomanticCotHols drumming up support, looking after tweeters and retweeting relevant content, hosting a monthly blog and now launching a ‘real life’ networking event where tweeters will get the chance to meet each other in the flesh. For me, this is the culmination of a fantastic project and gives #YorkshireHour concrete meaning.
It’s even the culmination of what Twitter can and should be, in a sense. It justifies my faith in it, if it can be used to bring people together rather than to separate people behind their computer screens.
After #yorkshirehour was launched last year, it became clear that Angie and Helen were either riding the crest of a trend or setting it, and a great many local and ultra-local tweeting events appeared to spring up in its wake. I’ve made an ongoing list and most recently, a map of these (or at least the ones in northern England).
I’ve decided to launch two of my own, #NidderdaleHour to launch on Tuesday 23rd July and #DalesHour to follow it later in the summer. Although I live on the periphery of Nidderdale I am very much engaged in Nidderdale communities with a great many contacts. #NidderdaleHour is a natural progression for me, being heavily involved in Nidderdale tweeting as I am.
In this partial homage to #YorkshireHour I am hoping that the ultra-local approach will be useful to those tweeting from those areas, and further down the line it would be nice to hold a real life event so that all the tweeters can get together.