The answer to that is yes. I do. And I’m so proud of it.
As someone who’s grown up in this media age and has been on twitter since age 11, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world who I would never have known if not for this site. I always used to call my friends that I met online my “concert friends” to avoid the conversation about where I met them with my school friends. It has been the easiest way to talk about it without needing to delve into it. This isn’t because I’m embarrassed about where I met my friends. I love it. I just think that some people have grown used to the “catfish” stories online and although that happens, those stories are not MY stories.
My twitter began when I was 11, in the 7th grade, because my friend had found this website and decided that I needed to make a twitter. My first username was Ilovedanny99 (my friend made it for me) and it was just a way for us to post things and feel cool because no one else knew what it was. Eventually I became a fan of bands and would tweet about them all day every day. I made a separate account the summer before my freshman year of high school so I could talk about them without bothering my school friends. And that’s where it all started.
Now, I run one account that has 2,587 followers (varying by day) and I just tweet about dumb things that make me laugh, sports, the world, and my friends. I talk about my friends online a lot because I have so much to be proud of them for. I’m motivated and supported constantly by the wonderful circle of FRIENDS that I have. No internet in front of that. I’m so lucky that I have had the ability to meet almost all of the people that I “follow” and talk to online whether they live in the same state or even country as me or not. Some of the people who I talk to mostly on the internet with are people who I didn’t even meet on the internet, but at concerts where I continued to connect with them through media. When we’re together we do nothing but make each other laugh and have fun. It’s more than just “liking” each other’s tweets.
My friends have driven me to try to be the best person that I can be and to pursue things that I enjoy. This led me to start Aura 32, an online magazine, in 2014 with my friend Ana who I met through twitter. Creating Aura 32 with Ana allowed me to grow as an individual and drove me to become more confident in things I was passionate about. It was incredible to watch Ana’s ability to manage and produce content for the site. We had become friends two years earlier because she tweeted me “bless you” after I sent a tweet saying that I sneezed. We’ve been friends for over four years and have grown both as individuals and as friends. Not only did she live across the entire country from me, but my parents flew her to New Jersey for my 16th birthday to surprise me. We’ve gone to fancy restaurants where we couldn’t pronounce the names of the food, gone to a concert together, started a website, cried, laughed, and grown together. Ana is not only extremely talented, but she’s one of the most independent and creative people that I know. Her constant support of both me and the causes that she’s passionate about amaze me every day. Being able to support her in all of her endeavors has been so exciting for me and I can’t wait for her next as she moves to Germany this winter! That’s the power of the internet, people.
Without my love for André Schürrle and football, I would probably have never spoken to Elham. Elham has taught me over the past four years that we’ve been following each other what it means to be human- being compassionate, understanding, and open. She’s also funny sometimes. We’re constantly going back and forth between discussing bands, sports, politics, and everything in between. She’s an incredibly driven person and is always helping me try to make my crazy ideas a reality. I really believe that she will change the world one day and I hope that I can be right there with her to continue to cheer for her every day.
If not for my relationship with Elham, I would never have been introduced to her sister, Mumina. I was lucky enough to meet Mumina (who lives in Minnesota) this summer because we were both vacationing in London at the same time. She took the tube over to my hotel and we went and bought breakfast at Tesco’s and just sat in the park and talked. She might even be as funny as Elham is. (Ham is really going to yell at me for that one.) My opportunity to meet Mumina also introduced me to the wonderful Caity Krone. Caity is an amazing singer, songwriter who always has a good story to tell. I’ve loved getting to know her over the past few months and have been inspired by her self-motivation to constantly improve as a person (and artist) and her never-ending support that she has for her friends and those around her.
On my trip to London a year ago, I was able to meet Lauren who I had only been following on twitter for a few months. Flash forward a year, and this past summer we ended up having plans to visit each other’s countries in back-to-back weeks. I was able to see Lauren five times in two different countries and cities within the span of two weeks. It was incredible to be able to connect so easily with someone from across the world from me. I miss her so much and it’s been so weird not seeing her for months after how often we’ve seen each other over the past year! It’s been amazing to watch how even though we connected originally over a band, we’ve been able to make our friendship last even past our appreciation for the band. I’m so thankful for always having Lauren there for me and for her always checking up on me, even though I’m on social media less and less.
In December of 2012 I was followed by Rachel who had followed me because my friends were trying to help me get to 1,000 followers on twitter. We communicated for over a year through twitter, text message, and google hangout before finally meeting the following December. We’ve visited each other more than once a year since then and always find a way to continue to keep in contact with each other despite our busy schedules and the distance between us. I will always remember singing along to our favorite songs together and texting them to each other, when the random popcorn got sent to my house, spending the weekend in NYC together, and the dank u meme. Being in the same grade as Rachel, we always talked about what we wanted to do as we got older and constantly talked about college. I am so proud of Rachel for being accepted to her dream school and being published in her school’s newspaper as she works towards a degree in journalism. It was also so exciting for me to be going to a school in her city for college! That meant I was be able to have her visit me at school before she moved to Boston to start college there. I’m so grateful to have had Rachel with me throughout all of high school and into college; and I know that we’ll be continue to be friends forever.
And to my girls: Courtney, Sindia, Natalie, and Katie. After being at the same concerts and events, we met online through mutual friends a year ago. Since then, we’ve had amazing experiences together going to concerts and just hanging out together. They’re some of the smartest people I know and they’re a constant support system for me. I’m so lucky to be able to call them some of my closest friends and I can always count on them to make me laugh. My life wouldn’t be the same without Sindia’s photography, Courtney’s terrible spelling, Natalie’s terrible ability to be a good fan, and Katie’s love for the Maine. The past year would not have been the same if I didn’t have all of them in my life and that wouldn’t have happened without twitter. Being able to meet up with them and just forget about everything else and have fun is something that I love so much. I’m truly so lucky to have friends like them.
Finally, I’d like to take a minute to thank everyone else I’ve met through the internet on twitter, at concerts, or through my website. I know I’ll forget some names but here are some more wonderful people that I admire and adore so much:
Lexi. Pilar. Phoebe. Leah. Jen. Diana. Lucy. Angelise. Ale. Agata. Ismahen. Erilyn. Steph. Lauren. Lauren. Rose. Roberta. Niamh. Lucy. Phoebe. Ella. Jojo. Louise. Jarna. Rachael. Sakina. Channing. Meaghan. Sam. Linsay. Amanda. Paola. Luciano. Maddi. & Brad.
(& Pizza, forever.)