Online conversations change lives.

That belief drives most of my work and writing, which is why I’m always so interested to hear people reflect on the ways that social media affects their relationships, career or self-image. A few months ago I collected some of these thoughts from bloggers in a post about how people say their lives have changed in Since I started blogging…

Today I’m going to do the same with Twitter. I googled to find out what kinds of things people say have happened “since I started tweeting”, “since I started to use Twitter”, “since I started using Twitter”  or “since I joined Twitter”. The results are an entirely unrepresentative sample — for which you should thank me, unless you think it sounds like fun to read four dozen people telling you about how Twitter has increased their web traffic. But I think it’s interesting to see all the ways that people describe Twitter’s impact, and to see how varied they are.

People say that since they’ve started tweeting, they have…

  1. Made new friends
  2. In the one year since I started tweeting, I’ve met some really great people. Thank you to everyone for enriching my life.

    – Richard Barrow (@richardbarrow)

    The many blessings and curses of social media. I have literally abandoned facebook ever since i joined twitter a year ago….I have started conversations and developed online friendships with so many on twitter and it takes the stress from my daily work, although it can be time consuming. sometimes i spend hours on it and fail to do some work (shame on me).

    – Funmi (@funms) on Single Black Male

  3. Enhanced their offline social lives
  4. My goals have changed since I started using Twitter.  I’m more interested in growing the relationships with people that I’ve actually interacted with.  I know that I’ll find new people to follow through the natural progression of life and it’s experiences, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.   So I’m done playing my games to see what benefit various actions might have when using Twitter.

    – Wayne John (@waynejohn) in I’ve unfollowed you on Twitter

    Since I started really using Twitter, my personal life has definitely changed for the better. Before I really started using Twitter I had my friends who I had built relationships with over the course of my life and who I had always been – and always probably will be – the “social glue” or “group networker” between them….Once I got involved in the world of Twitter – specifically the Toronto community – that all changed. No longer was I the one who was the glue amongst a circle of friends, the majority of people on Twitter are networkers too! No longer would I find out about something cool going on in the city and then spend hours looking for someone willing to go out, downtown to check it out.

    – Dan Levy (@TheDanLevy)  in  Join Twitter! It Changes Your Personal Life From Good To AWESOMAZING!

  5. Shifted their time online
  6. Saved Precious Time – because of all my Twitters go straight to my Facebook updates, and I only login to my Facebook twice a week.

    – Jen Roberts (@jenroberts) in Twitter is radically changing the way musicians are building communities of supportive fans around them

    Since I joined Twitter, I’ve tried to read literally every tweet of those I followed; not a big deal if you check in five, six times a day.

    Sean, @sweaternine

  7. Found a community of interest
  8. Since I started using Twitter, I have discovered half a dozen new-to-me expat communities online, several blogs have featured my profile or a link to my site, and I have received an offer to write a guest post on an expat blog. Not bad for a tool I only use a few minutes a day, in between meetings or phone calls!

    – Emmanuelle Archer (@emmanuelle_a) in The Expat Life: Why Twitter Is An Expat’s Best Friend

    Most of my friends on Twitter are raw foodies, which is fantastic. And since I started ‘tweeting’, back in March, I’ve been noticing that more of my raw friends have been using Twitter as a mobile “buddy system”. People are actually using Twitter to keep each other motivated, informed and supported – the way that local friends would do.

    – Dhrumil Purohit (@dhrumil) on We Like It Raw

  9. Transformed their blogs
  10. Since I started using Twitter, I have more than doubled my blog traffic over the last several months, and I can tell you how…Instead of telling your Twitter audience that you’ve published a new post, ask them their opinion on the core topic you’ve covered….when a [blog] topic seems to take off, I send a note to Twitter alerting people to the quality of the conversation in the comments…Sometimes, I Even Dare to Ask for a Stumble.

    – Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) in How I Use Twitter to Promote My Blog.

    I have noticed a higher-than-average increase in RSS subscribers since I joined Twitter.

    – Michael Martine (@remarkablogger) in What Twitter Does for Me

    Since I started using Twitter the types of blog posts change from what it used it be in the past years: personal and quick thoughts are now on Twitter, and only technical posts make it to the blog.

    – Simone Chiaretta (@simonech) on CodeClimber

  11. Built a professional network
  12. Since i started tweeting in April 2008 I adored Twitter and have made some wonderful friends, connections and had some amazingly real, fun and meaningful conversations. I have personally connected with many of the top people in social media and count them more like friends than contacts.

    – Emily la Grange (@emilylagrange) in Blog Marketing for Local Small Businesses

    Since I started Tweeting in March 2008, Twitter has become one of the best resources I have as a recruiter, coach and talent consultant. Why? Because I connect with thought leaders who share what they’re working on, resources, tips, links to interesting articles, etc.

    – Jennifer McClure (@CincyRecruiter) in Fistful of Talent: 5 Must-Use Social Media Tools For HR & Recruiting Professionals In 2009.

  13. Learned from their fellow teachers
  14. Ever since I joined twitter and started building a PLN I have been reading so many wonderful, insightful blogs from my PLN. Posts that made me reflect upon my practice (I’m an EFL teacher at a BNC in Brazil), my beliefs; that made me laugh, that gave me great ideas for activities. posts that made me learn more about my area, where we come from and where we are going.

    – Cecilia Lemos Coelho (@cecilialcoelho) on Writing to Grow by Jason T Bedell

    I joined Twitter — reluctantly — one year ago this month, and it was a great move. I’ve been able to connect with so many more teachers, get answers to many questions, and use it as sort of my own version of a Delicious-like bookmarking service.

    – Larry Ferlazzo (@larryferlazzo) in It’s Been One Year Since I Joined Twitter

    Since I joined Twitter in 2007 I have been participating in and observing a global network of teachers on the “real time” social networking system Twitter….What I have watched – in action – is teachers from many nations now given the ability to form their own liberated learning network, sharing resources, ideas, frustrations, problems, research, even lesson plans without official filters, without limits constructed by others. And thus what I have watched is teachers from around the world finding that they are able to change the rules, to make different “plays,” within the transaction space which defines their teaching practice.

    – Ira David Socol (@irasocol) in SpeEdChange: Twitter as [Teacher] Liberation Technology

  15. Found new information
  16. Since I started using Twitter, I’ve nearly stopped collecting news from other sources. Before, for example, I watched news on TV and read more magazines. Now I get nearly all my news from Twitter.

    – Erik Ulken (@eulken) in Personalized news done right?

    Since I started tweeting, I have amassed a virtual library of useful information, quotes, lesson activities, etc… plus made a few friends. I have even influenced my sister, who is basically comp-illiterate, to tweet happily about the issues dear to her heart. Unfortunately, my husband still makes fun of my “frivolous”, time-wasting twitter addiction. If only he knew the power of Twitter!!!

    – Eva Ursell (@urselle) in Twitter is sold wrong

    I have learned some things since joining the fine citizenry of Twitterland…(1) I learned new acronyms….[like] POTUS (which sounded like a flower to me but turns out meaning President of the United States)  (2) Next I learned a whole new set of words…[like] Hemorragic Fever…wtf? I love it! I tried calling in with that once by the way…but since I work at the hospital it didn’t work….guess I should have thought about that huh?

    –  Musings of a Madman: Things I have learned since I joined Twitter..

  17. Seen their competitors in a new light
  18. Since I joined Twitter about a year ago I’ve been seeing tweets from more GMAT forums that are little more than myth conjuring. The forums scare me because of how poorly the advice given by such posters can and often is taken by those prepping for the GMAT.

    – Akil Bello (@bellcurves) in Einstein Can’t Teach Me Physics

    Since I joined Twitter I had the feeling I was among fellow competitors, trying to show their qualities in an arena where it was more like talking among experts belonging to the same field more than attracting new clients.

    – Marc Benton (@marcbenton) in Should Photographers Buy Promoted Tweets?

  19. Changed how they do business
  20. I haven’t called a customer service phone number since I joined Twitter. Today, if I have a terrible shopping experience, or visit a beautiful airport, I tweet about it. In almost every case the brand finds my tweet and responds to me in less than an hour.

    — William Balderaz (@webbedmarketing) of I have a web site, I don’t need a Facebook page

    All I know is that since I started using Twitter our business has increased by 20-25%.

    — Kevin O’Keefe (@kevinokeefe) of Lexblog, quoted on the  The Rainmaker Blog.

  21. Changed themselves
  22. There is very much an air of philanthropy and love on Twitter. I’ve become more empathetic and giving since I started tweeting. This will enhance your writing and allow you to relate to your readers on a whole new level.

    — Diana Adams (@adamsconsulting) in The A-Z List: How Twitter Can Make You a Better Blogger

    Ever since I started tweeting I’ve noticed that my attention span has gotten shor

    – Andy Borowitz (@borowitzreport0) in  5QQ: Andy Borowitz

Has Twitter changed your life? How? I’d love to hear in the comments below, or on Twitter.