I try not to get caught up in the whole Christmas/New Year "thing" and I know that 2013 is only a week away and not a whole year, but as the world stops around me for a few days, I can't help thinking about the last 12 months.
One thing I loved doing this year, which I never thought I would say, was being on Twitter.
I've had many conversations with people about why it's so wonderful and have come to the conclusion, that like many other great tools, there are many ways to use it, it just depends on what you want to get from it.
I don't have a smartphone, so I mainly use Twitter through Hootsuite on my tablet, which means I'm not on it all day, just at certain times.
So, let me get straight into my reasons to be Twankful.
1) I found a new business partner after meeting lots of new, great people!
Not just that, there is much more to it. It's a bit of a long story, but can be traced back to Twitter.
Back in April (I think), I opened a new Twitter account to publicise my book The A to Z of Spanish Culture. As I was following people, I got a nice Direct Message back (you can see what this is in this other blogpost about Twitter) from Steve at @thisisspain saying I could publicise the book through his site and also, would I like to join a Facebook group (you can read more about this here).
I joined the group WABAS, which is now my main reason for going on Facebook and in September, when I went to Madrid for a few weeks, I decided to try to meet some of these virtual people in the flesh. To cut a long story short, I ended up going to a networking event, the Guiripreneurs (best name ever!), where I met Kirstin Donovan, with whom I have now set up the project Teambuilding Madrid. Plus, it was lovely to meet Maxine, Graham and Pierre in the flesh.
There you go. All traced back to Twitter.
2) I've connected with someone who understands me!
I'm always searching for like-minded people in the "learning and development" world and managed to find someone who shares the importance of exploring what makes us tick and what makes us enjoy working together, through physical exercises and play.
I started following Catherine from In Movement on Twitter after I read one of her blog posts and she reached out, with a personal direct message. (If you want to see how Twitter can be used to connect and meet new people, I suggest you follow her.) I thought that someone who had taken the time to look properly at who was "following" her was definitely worth talking to. We had a chat in October and are planning to meet in person in January. As she is based in Manchester, without Twitter it would have been difficult to make contact. Thank you, Twitter!
3) I got back in touch with someone I grew up with.
I know most people are doing this through Facebook, and in a way, I did too.
His brother had posted a link to a video where my friend Pablo was seen giving being weightless a try. Knowing he was a journalist, I thought he must be on Twitter. I found him, (going by the wonderful name of @mono_pensante (thinking monkey)) he was happy that I found him and last September, when I was in Madrid, we had lunch. Furthermore, he's a science correspondent, so I'm always interested in what he has to say.
If anyone would have said our former 7-year-old selves that we would re-kindle our friendship from something named after the communication skills of a bird, we would have been left puzzled and confused.
Well, that's it for now.
I'm not sure whether three reasons to be thankful to Twitter make a post, but I wanted to share them with you to show that Twitter, as well as other social media platforms, can be useful and easily translate into the real world. I think that's what's important, to remember that these virtual worlds don't exist just parallel to our real one, but in connection to them.
Use them well, use them wisely or don't use them at all.