Blogvember post 23 … if Twitter had existed in 1991

Twitter was ‘invented’ in 2006 and launched in July 2006. I joined 16 February 2009 and my life really hasn’t been the same since. When I joined there were fewer than 6 million registered users. There are now upwards of 200 million. There are 50 million active accounts where people log in every day.

The best statistic I can find is 5% of users generate 75% of the content. This always reminds me of my favourite Remo t-shirt ‘Content Provider’ with all its many connotations. Content to provide content. Providing content contentedly. Those with content to provide.

Today it is a different Twitter world than it was in 2009. But I wondered today, while thinking about my sliding door moment with @mamabook yesterday when we realised that we passed each other, almost daily in all likelihood at Macquarie University during the early nineties, what if Twitter had existed? We might have met. We were there at the same time. Almost studied the same things. I am waiting for her to produce a transcript so we can check if we did study the same subjects.

@ If I had only studied philosophy we could have been friends for a whole extra 20 years! #amazeballs @

If Twitter had existed in 1991 how different things would have been. We wouldn’t have had to make such sure and definite plans. The vagaries of plans with no mobile phones and no cars were few. The plans were concrete. Cancellations had to happen hours in advance. But we didn’t worry much about what we were missing out on either. We had detailed uninterrupted conversations. No beeping. No instagraming. No tweeting.

If Twitter had existed I wouldn’t have had an answering machine that played Arrival of the Queen of Seba when you called and I wasn’t home. The thought of this, the mere recollection of this cracks me up to this day. And I might have had more money as I wouldn’t have had to waste so much money on STD phone calls to my family in a un-deregulated telecommunications market. Damn you Telecom. No really damn you.

If Twitter had existed when I was in first year missed opportunities wouldn’t have slipped by. I might have kept up with world events a bit better while I spent endless, countless hours on public transport dragging myself across Sydney to go to university. I might also have realised sooner, that almost everyone was as clueless and disoriented by life as I was in first year. I might have been able to get real conversations going about ideas that interested me, instead of my so-called friend’s eyes glazing over every time I mentioned phenomenology and existentialism.

There might not have been Drum Media if Twitter had existed in 1991. How great a medium is Twitter for the music scene? The Big Day. I can’t even imagine that on Twitter. I bet it is totally awesome. Gigs at the Horden Pavillion – how amazing would that have been with iphone and Twitter.

I may not have missed out on making connections with people who I would never have met otherwise and who could have been enriching my life for the past twenty years. It was a slower world. In 1991 it was still another four years before I had a new-ish laptop and it was another nine years before you could SMS between carrier networks. Remember that?

It was even more years before I had both my great macbook and cable internet in a convergence of greatness which I just couldn’t believe and I used it to chat on Facebook *face-palm* Even then I was desperate for a medium that would connect me to ideas and conversations and people.

Twitter still didn’t exist for another whole year.