Dear one of my most influential relationships

Sorry for the relative silence on my part of late, hope you’ve all been enjoying the career insights from the A Closer Look series. Recently my life’s been an enjoyable chaos of final year work, interviews and saying yes to other opportunities.

A few weeks ago I was invited to give a talk to a class of other Uni of Manchester students about the different experiences that had arisen out of my social networking and it put a lot of perspective on things. One thing it really highlighted was how much of an importance one relationship has played on my life. And so it has inspired this…

Dear one of the most influential relationships of my life,

I still remember the first time we met. It was 13 February 2009, the Inset day before half term of Year 12, and Hannah had come around mine to spend the day watching DVDs of old primary school plays. She set me up with you, introduced me to you. She told you my name – a name I wasn’t fond of – but a name I now use proudly, because of you. I can’t remember my exact first words to you – alas our relationship has gone on for so long I can’t seek them out – but I have a funny idea they mentioned my Oscar-deserving performance of Oliver!

I have to say, it wasn’t love at first sight. Anything but. In fact, I do believe we spent quite some time apart after our first encounter. But when we reconnected, something changed. Being connected to you meant I could be connected to so many other people. People I didn’t know. People who didn’t know me. Yet.

In July 2010, I remember being in the offices of The National Magazine Company and people started talking about you. I kept quiet as I wasn’t quite sure about you. A few weeks later I gave you another shot, I gave you my full attention and I felt rewarded.

From then on we were inseparable. I told you everything. If I was happy, you were the first to know. And when I wasn’t happy, I’d let you know through sarcastic remarks that never quite came across how I’d intended them to.

One of the first things you helped me with was find new music. You hooked me up with musicians you thought I’d like and put me in contact with their fans. This would come in useful later on and for that I thank you.

I know people thought you could be a bad influence – they still do – but to me you were an opportunity. My opportunity to do more with my life. You were my gateway to bigger things. Whilst I stayed sober in every other way, you were my drug.

Through you I met people who would give me platforms to share my words with others. You allowed me access to free games, CDs and gigs and it was all legal. You even lured me in with two pairs of designer jeans. I couldn’t have thanked you enough.

And then things changed, I stopped seeing you as a high school friend. I grew up. And so too did our relationship.

It became more business like – more formal. I quit telling you every personal detail, maybe I took a step back. And yet I found myself attracted to you more and more. The possibilities became bigger. At one stage there was even money involved.

You found me work opportunities I’d never have found without you. It was you who helped me become a Sub-Editor of a national music site, you’re the reason I was front row at London Fashion Week and without you there’d have been no Guardian bylines.

You cheated on me. You always had been, always will. Our relationship was never private and yet you had public liaisons with so many others. And that was ok with me. I accepted it as a part of you.

I found a following because of you. All 1100 of them. I felt like a cult leader. People would question what you’d done to me. How could you have made me so interesting? I was boring. I was just another girl who wanted to write.

Ha, remember those days. I’d review music, films, sweets… and you’d tell people to read it. Anyone who’d listen was what I’d say.

Nowadays I question where I’d be without you. You are my past, and I want you to be my future.

When people ask me what I want to do in the future, I tell them I want to work in marketing. Which is totally true. But we both know I want to end up in digital marketing. Because of you.

The influence you’ve had on me has been like nothing else. You’ve made me do things, see things, buy things. All through your limited words. And I know you have the power to do this to others too. If you’re treated correctly.

You’ve changed my life. And I guess I want you to be a part of helping me change others’ lives too.

I think I love you, Twitter.

Fondest regards,

@catherineelaine

Where would I be without you?

Please tell me I’m not alone in these sentiments? Anyone else feel they’ve spent too much time on Twitter and possibly neglected real world relationships?

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