What to write about? I know! Twitter! That social media thing; generally loved by those who partake yet much maligned by those who just don’t get it. I always describe Facebook as a place you have your friends and Twitter where you talk to people you have things in common with; who then often go on to become a friend!
I was amazed to see that I’d started Twitter in 2009, it was a slow process I had no real idea of how it worked! So, here’s a quick guide to how to get going! It’s basically al about the hash tag! I think at the last count I was up to 2947 followers; I tend to follow back so that count isn’t too far behind.
A rugby based Twitter organisation started by rugby fanatic Trevor Large in December 2011 called #rugbyunited was a real driver for me to find people and vice vera. The trick is to say your piece and add a hash tag – in this case #rugbyunited – onto the end. That way other can find you by searching for the #
Here’s an explanation of the whole #rugbyunited thing taken from their website – for Trevor and a whole lot of other people I’d say Twitter’s been life changing.
#rugbyunited is a digital communications organisation that brings rugby fans and players together across the world. Through grass roots projects such as #rugbyroots, to fans of professional clubs on #rugbyclubs – we aim to unite everyone in their love of rugby
The friend/people you have things in common with is so incredibly true for a multi sports mad Essex girl; I do have friends who like maybe one sometimes two of the sports I love. My very good friend Monica loves rugby union and cricket for example. But add in rugby league? Even amongst large groups of men you’d probably struggle to find that range of sport.
So, for me Twitter has given me a wide range of new friends to talk to about the things I love. `For example I decided I’d heap some extra torture on myself over the Christmas period in 2013; I decided to stay up and watch the Ashes. By using the #Ashes hash tag before I knew it I was talking to a couple of happy Australian cricket fans! I find that quite amazing!
I communicate with Twitter friends all over the world- one lovely lady Gina lives in Chicago, she’s a wonder! She’s fighting stage 4 lymphoma with a positive attitude that permeates across the airwaves, she’s a big Bob Marley fan and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her post anything negative. I’m honoured to be connected to her.
Then there are fellow sports fans like the lovely Linz and Lisa two Bradford Bulls crazy ladies who I met when they came down to London this summer. I can honestly say I know these ladies and they know me; I got one very big hug from them both. My whole sporting experience has changed through Twitter, I meet people from my virtual world pretty much wherever I go.
It can be a tad awkward when they haven’t put a photo on their profile; you may not be shocked to hear I have loads, especially ones with a rugby player at my side! But without fail it’s been great to meet and bring people into my real world. I’ve made real and lifelong friends through the medium too.
And so my ‘people I have things in common with’ have become my ‘spending time with’ friends; my Saracens match day experience as well as my time away from rugby has been transformed by Alun and Sharon, by Tracey, by Nigel R and lots of other Twitter friends who’ve become face to face people.
As well as Saracens friends I’m lucky enough to have made lovely friends in Henry and Sue – Harlequins fans; and here is where I make a confession, I have a soft spot for their Quins as well as their company. I think I saw Quins maybe 8 or 9 times last season. As well as going to the Stoop a great place to watch rugby they’ve also introduced me to Patisserie Valerie! My life is so much better! If you ever see PV – Strawberry Tart! That’s my recommendation! They are beyond delicious!
Here comes another rugby related confession – that soft spot? I have it for Wasps too. My club rugby watching days actually started there, in High Wycombe in the days when Danny Cipriani was there and playing some of his best rugby. My recent visits have been enhanced by Nigel B, a Twitter friend who also very kindly invited me to the Wasps 10th anniversary dinner at Twickenham in May. (we know this piece is going to mean lots of m with rugby player photos!). Nigel’s generosity has seen me watching a few games in lovely company rather than as my often is the case status of billy no mates.
Another major thing that has come my way via Twitter is the opportunity to write; probably a whole ‘episode’ on its own, this is really one thing that’s changed my life and enhanced it greatly! All thanks to Dave and In The Loose my new hobby seems to be growing by the day; an they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
A funny story to finish – one Sunday evening in summer 2013 Nigel R arranged a get together with 2 of his Twitter connections Mandy and Paul who’d become my friends too. I’d spent the day watching Essex win a 40 over match in Colchester; anyone who knows me and cricket knows I don’t do strap marks – hence the strapless – not topless!! – dress i had on when I went to meet them.
I’d recognised the fact while I was at the match – sunshine and regular cricket meant I really needed to wear a hat. Never a fan of a hat I bought myself an Essex hat (see above) . I asked a fellow (Twitter friend) Essex fan to take a photo and Laraine managed to make it look as if I was naked! That caused hilarity when I showed the 3 plus Mandy’s sister Sue that photo. I think near hysteria happened when we had a photo taken and lo and behold – yep, naked again! Well not actually naked, I am outgoing but really not into the idea of being arrested!
I could write so much about the wonderful people I connect with on Twitter but I think I’d be here all night! More stories to come I’m sure and certainly more about my rugby writing!