7 years. 2555 days. I originally signed up on Twitter as BonJoviJo on April 19, 2009 and have since changed my handle twice, eventually sticking with JoOutLoud. 37,700 tweets. 10,400 faves. 4737 followers. Added to 73 lists, including Santa’s Nice List.

The Twitter community in Central Alberta was small in 2009. Every year, more join us, and we’re privileged to add people who we may never have crossed paths with otherwise, to our list of friends.

Marriages, divorces, affairs, hookups, romances – we’ve watched them all happen. We’ve lived through them with the support of this weird network of peers, who don’t really care what you’re wearing while your tumbling through the chaos of your life, but definitely care if you’ve used “you’re” incorrectly.

We’ve been through bed rest, welcomed into the delivery room with some, and we’ve celebrated many births. We’ve mourned the deaths of those lost before we were ready to lose them. We’ve supported survivors in all shapes and forms. We’ve asked forgiveness, and we’ve forgiven.

We’ve sat through tattoo sessions, test drove new cars, tried a new restaurant, dumped ice over each other’s heads. We were entertained during the Superbowl black out. We watched the golden goal together in 2010. We have never seen an Oilers Playoff game. (That one was for Joe Whitbread). We’ve clinked glasses with people we’ve never met. We’ve been on vacation more times than we can count, and never spent a cent. We’ve watched concerts and conferences. We’ve even viewed photos of our world, from the space station. FROM THE SPACE STATION.

We’ve moved. We’ve stayed connected. We’ve sat on the highway in traffic and shared trail mix.

We’ve hoped, and cried. We’ve actually born witness to tidal waves, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires as they’re happening. Over and over, we’ve come together to help. In fact, for many of us it’s how we’ve met in person – gathering to help.

We’ve seen a single tweet give someone wings. We’ve seen a single tweet destroy someone’s heart. Misconceptions, assumptions, subtweets and all the ridiculousness that comes with being at the beginning of a learning curve with no reference guide. Many have moved through that curve and have learned to become better people because of it.

Some of the most important relationships in my life were built through Twitter. Our social media business exists because of Twitter. Did I know that would happen on that spring evening in 2009, when I was bored and decided to give the birdhouse a try? There’s no way! What I found was a community of people who were flawed, and ready to share their stories, 140 characters at a time. People I could relate to, who made me laugh, who lifted me when I needed lifting, and who expanded my point of view. 7 years.

If you’d like to send me a gift, please send Bon Jovi.



You can follow my personal account on Twitter if you want. @JoOutLoud and remember to give @JoeSocialJo a follow too!