Twitter made me who I am.

That probably sounds like a loaded claim, right? One more crazy social media obsessor, trying to find overt ways to justify our social media overuse. I know, the title’s a little “extreme.” Twitter isn’t the only thing that’s led me to who I am. Friends, family, faith, bumps in the road, loss, love, disappointment, and successes of all sorts have contributed.

But, hear me out on this.

Twitter made me who I am

I joined Twitter in late 2008. I was a freshman in college, and exploring Twitter for e-commerce and marketing. Just weeks later, I began tweeting for a brand as part of an internship. Suddenly, I was engrossed. I began devouring whatever info I could about Twitter peak times, best practices for social media marketing, and how to integrate social media into brand cultures.

Five years later, Twitter, and the entire social media marketing game, has changed. But, how has Twitter made me who I am?

  • Twitter is where my career began. I was offered my first entirely-social-media internship because of my activity on Twitter. In a crazy domino effect, that one internship led to a slew of other internships, freelance jobs, speaking engagements, and much more!
  • Twitter is how I met the people who helped me find the help I needed. I was too walled off to talk to people I interacted with in person — but the friends I saw less than a handful of times a year at conferences? Yet still talked to every day online? They were ideal for turning to in my darkest moments. I’m not sure where I’d be without them.
    • In case you aren’t in the know, I found help for bipolar disorder. And a pretty nasty eating disorder.
    • Also, these were the same people who helped me through withdrawals when I was taken off a bad anxiety med perscription.
    • Also, these were the same people who helped me find some stability when I decided to try the life unmedicated. It’s been a blessing thus far.*
  • Twitter led me on wonderful adventures. Those internships I mentioned? One of them was for my first agency, in its California office. I was recruited by my dear friend and mentor Katie Pinke and her colleague Josh. They found me via Twitter.
  • Twitter is also responsible for free meals and lodging on the drive to Sacramento for that California internship. Those conference friends I would see a few times a year? I crashed on their couches and grabbed meals with them along the way.
  • Twitter brought me to Kansas City. That internship in California led to a job offer in the agency’s U.S. headquarters, here in KC. I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been before. Kansas City gave me a fresh start…and Twitter is where it all began.
  • Twitter gave me a channel to experiment with my passions. My passion for agriculture and food grew and grew because of Twitter. While it isn’t my career path anymore, it’s still how I got where I am today. I’m using what I learned thanks to agriculture, to help people in a whole new way now.
  • I met some of my best “girlfriends” on Twitter. Some of my closest female friends are actually ones I met on Twitter. And I’m a stronger, more compassionate, and more professional woman because of them! And I hope these ladies know how special they are to me.
  • I probably only gave Nightwolf a chance because of Twitter. You see, I wasn’t so sure I wanted a date with this sweet, romantic, considerate clean-cut suburban boy. I was so sure I needed a farmer, or maybe a bad boy cowboy. Jodi, a started-on-Twitter-friend, straight-up yelled at me to give the guy a chance. November 20th marked 8 months since our first date, and we’re still going strong. (Our real first date, not the mistaken one.)
  • My jobs, adventures, and friendships gained through Twitter helped build my confidence. That was the confidence I needed to get over a messy breakup with my high school sweetheart, to conquer bulimia after a two year struggle, and start a new life in Kansas City.

Despite social media being a part of my job, it’s more than an income for me. So much of the success marketers like myself experience in the digital space is chalked up to the personal interactions that people have because of social media. If we ever forget that, we will fail at our jobs. People wouldn’t use these tools if they were strictly for business — we, as digital advertisers, are being allowed space in THEIR social lives. And the interactions they’re making on these channels could be changing their lives.

I mean, social media changed mine.

* I do not encourage all individuals with bipolar disorder or another mental abnormality to go off their meds. My removal was done with doctor supervision, a strong support group, and regular therapy. If you are diagnosed with a mental disorder or illness and are interested in trying life without medication, please consult your doctor(s) and work with them. You are too wonderful a person to do this the wrong way.

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