A butterflies wings flap. Someone sends a tweet. A government falls and rises again.
But the beauty of Twitter is not in the very great consequences but in the small. Not the detail neither but in the flow and sway of unguarded conversations and chit chat about the weather.
I can’t remember where my own journey through the conversations happened. I know it involved the mountain bikers, because most everything started with the mountain bikers. A random conversation about wouldn’t it be fun to ride in a straight line for a while ended up with a girl I’d never met before in person stood next to the Leeds Liverpool Canal by Skipton waving a bit of cardboard with ‘go go loulouk’ written on it.
Those conversations about learning to ride my bike, the blogs which came out of the journeys which I made while in the saddle led to meeting assorted people who published my words in one form or another and in meeting a quiet policeman with a big heart who challenged every assumption I had about operational implementation during protests. They led to cheerleading a start up baking nothing but the best bread. To sitting in Wagamamas shooting the breeze with someone who is turning out to be a bit of an awesome friend in the strange kind of way that very busy people can be, where the intervening months out of contact never happened and there is ease and comfortableness there.
Then there are the questioners and the thinkers. From Futuregov to Urban Forum, from disability activists to people questioning capitalism, random discussions on medical irritations, on challenges at work, on snapping pictures of random things have all linked me to people who have enriched my life, my thinking and my personal development as well as continuously challenging my assumptions on life, the universe and everything.
I’ve had discussions with ‘famous’ people but they’re not the interactions that are the amazing ones. The amazing ones are the ones which come from tweeting some ridiculous mountain biking video and getting into a discussion with someone else in the civil service about downhill versus cross country. Well I might meet that girl in a meeting somewhere some day and I might not. But if we do, we’ll have something to talk about, some commonality that allows to start somewhere differently to everyone else in the room.
I’ve tried to help people through Twitter but that help is nothing compared to the help I’ve received.
One day I posted a tweet about having a piece written and wondering if anyone was looking for something similar in their publishing schedules. The next day, an academic who I’d discussed a fancy dress outfit with among many other things, popped into my stream and introduced me to an journalist. An online only journalist but a tech journalist all the same. In turn, he introduced me to an American editor who tucked me under her wing and taught me everything I know about marshalling words into something which approaches sense. It wouldn’t have happened if I had not established a rapport with someone I’d never met through talking about something as random as trying to dress up to match my partners Captain Sparrow.
Then there was the thing with the job interview. The one where I discovered there was a job through Twitter, filled out my application form, was told I had an interview on Twitter, attended the interview and then was told I had the job over Twitter.
I didn’t exist to the people recruiting for that post anywhere except on Twitter, despite working in the same organisation as them.
But the thing about serendipity is, it can’t be forced and it can’t be taught. So my parting shot to those who’d like to do a bit of wing flapping?
Be yourself. The magic is in the conversations that are nothing to do with work whatsoever.