By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
Let's talk about the power of Twitter. One of the coolest, and scariest, things about the internet — Twitter especially — is that you never know who might be watching. This very article is a result of a single tweet I sent out one afternoon a couple of months ago.
A guy I follow mentioned that someone should make a list of all of the "non-media types" on Twitter. I replied with something like, "Someone should write a whole story about them. There are some real characters." Less than one minute later, @panopticon13 offered me a cover story in City Pages. Twitter is an amazing thing.
I was tasked with interviewing 20 "normal" people from Twitter. Except none of them are really "normal" in the everyday-person sense of the word. Each person I interviewed has accumulated more than 1,000 followers without the backing of a major news organization or a professional sports team. None of them regularly headlines First Avenue, and there is really no reason I would have ever known they existed if it weren't for Twitter.
There are countless people I could have interviewed, each one just as interesting as the next. But for the purposes of this story I found 20 people who use Twitter in a unique way. While these people all use Twitter differently, they do have a lot in common. All of them believe that their lives are better because of the community they have found there.
Here is what 20 Twin Cities tweeters had to say about the influence Twitter has had on their lives:
Abigail Harrison, age 16, currently a high school student
Representative tweet: I'm so excited to welcome @astro_luca back to planet earth ...he will be arriving shortly!!!
Describe your account: My biggest dreams and goals, mixed with my everyday successes, failures, and funny happenings: In other words, it's me.
Explain Twitter in one sentence: Twitter is a format for ideas and interactions to be condensed into the most important pieces and shared with everyone.
One good thing about Twitter: Twitter has opened so many doors for me. Most importantly, it has shown me that there is a whole community of people who support my dream and also whom I can support as they dream big!
If you like @AstronautAbby, you'll also like @broglund and @SafyHallanFarah
Chey Eisenman, age 33, works as a cabdriver
Representative tweet: Earlier tonight SSP lady got into a cab, naked under coat. Thought her 'hot' body should get her a free ride to Mpls. It didn't.
Describe your account: How I engage, educate and entertain those interested in the unique view a cabdriver has on their community.
Explain Twitter in one sentence: The pulse of our community and world with just the scroll of a finger.
One good thing about Twitter: Things break on Twitter before they break on the news. I work the streets and it allows me to be on top of what is happening. Kenny Olson (@MSP_Traffic) is the god of traffic.
Twitter pet peeve: #TheWaySomePeopleUseHashtags
Anything else? The public knows very little about the cab industry. And the cab industry is often secretive and defensive. I wanted to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between the rider and the driver. It is also my way of giving folks a glimpse into my backseat.
If you like @CheyCab, you'll also like @ampersandria and @birdchick
Jason Zabel, age 26, works as a creative at Zeus Jones
Representative tweet: woke up early to write poetry for a cereal brand. feeling spr zen. happy hump day.
Describe your account: Influential topics include coffee, Katy Perry, and oppression.
Explain Twitter in one sentence: Twitter is like instant messenger except that usually you're not talking to anyone in particular; you're just putting out bait, hoping to get a nibble.
Do your friends use Twitter? Most of my friends have Twitter accounts, but not all of them use it because they prefer IRL interactions or are insecure about their writing ability or they think they do not have anything to "add to the conversation," or they believe that social media is slowly killing us.
One good thing about Twitter: One time I made a joke about a certain famous rapper, and he wrote back almost instantly: "FUCK YOU, I COULD GIVE A SHIT," or some clever retort. I think I shook with laughter for about 20 minutes.
One bad thing about Twitter: Same answer.
Twitter pet peeve: There are many marketing types on Twitter who use the tool as a kind of personal promotion machine, or to show how good they are at #social. They use #hashtags constantly to talk about #b2b #communications #strategy, or to say something like, "Just attended the #GreatCOMMconf12 and couldn't be more #inspired about #growth in the #person2person #leveraging #tools sector! Thanks, @[insertmarketingtwittercelebwhohostedtheevent]."
If you like @jasonzabel, you'll also like @thanland and @emoeby
Kate O'Reilly, age 38, makes things happen for a living
Representative tweet: Enough about my stuff! What cool stuff are you making right now?
Describe your account: Your mom, your sister, your pithy BFF.
Explain Twitter in one sentence: A filter of likemindedness. (Or the opposite of that, depending on how your brain works.)