Ten Years on Twitter

November 15th marks ten years since I joined Twitter. I was user 12,494. Members of Web Design mailing list I was a member of back then all signed up at the same time - the user before me (excluding the now deactivated account 12,493) was Matt Pennell with whom I now have the pleasure of working and the user after me was Andrew Disley, along with whom I spent many enjoyable evenings at the first GeekUp events in Manchester.

In ten years of twittering I have generated some fifteen thousands tweets, 4 tweets a day for ten years. There is no social network I’ve used longer, or more consistently than that - and so twitter is the longest and most complete record of the last ten years of my life. Those ten years started when I was a student of Japanese at Liverpool John Moores University, and ended with me working at Booking.com in Amsterdam. It has been a good ten years, from being a feckless twenty-one year old, to a proper grown up with a wife, a house, a couple of cats & having spent 8 of the last ten years living overseas.

My first tweet was rather uninspired - Like everyone else I was curious and a bit confused about what I was supposed to use twitter for and writing in the 3rd person as was the norm until the twitter web UI stopped prepending usernames to tweets.

A year later, I was preparing to move to Fukuoka in southern Japan to continue my studies.

By May of 2009 I had moved back from an incredible year living in Japan to graduate, and I marked my last day as a student:

In the meantime, I’d met a girl, but I didn’t talk about her much on twitter because I’d been planning to move back to Fukuoka after I graduated and so assumed it was a short-term thing. That changed when the two of decided we’d rather bugger off to New Zealand together and the path of our lives changed completely.

After a year or so of antipodean adventures, we moved to Wellington, and one Wednesday night in the Botanical gardens I asked Victoria to marry me, she laughed in my face, and then upon realising my seriousness, said yes:

By early 2011 - after two years living in NZ - we’d decided to move back to Europe. I had accepted a job in Amsterdam, and we were preparing to move back to Europe after two years in New Zealand. I seem to remember asking on twitter sometime in late 2010 about possible design roles in Europe, and speaking with Matt about Booking.com - but that twitter exchange seems to have dissapeared.

In December of the following year - by now properly settled in Amsterdam - we welcomed our friends and family from all over the world to celebrate our wedding with us on a boat in Amsterdam, the wedding even had a hashtag.

Not long after that we bought our first house - well, Victoria did, I was in Tokyo for work at the time and remember learning that our offer had been accepted in between Earthquakes shaking my hotel from side to side:

Given the turmoil surrounding twitter, it seems unlikely that in ten years time I’ll be able to look back at my second decade in quite the same way, but who knows - the web has a way of making important things endure. I don’t think anyone using twitter in 2006 had any sense that this would become such an integral part of the story of the web, and would go from being the preserve of people who made the internet, to that of hundreds of millions of people using it to inspire revolutions, create movements, and report on every significant news event without the filter of the traditional media. I love twitter. I loved it in 2006 when I could hang out with my friends there and share the inane details of my day, and I love it now as a place to learn first about what is going on in the world, and my industry, and amongst my peers. I still wish they’d take some of my money, and I hope they find a way to stick around until 2026.

Up next Fixing Amazon Echo’s Timezone I bought an Amazon Echo in the UK this week, and am trying to figure out how to set it up to work properly from The Netherlands. This post explains This is My Jam: SOAK - B a noBody
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