Twitter is a social networking site that unites people that may otherwise never meet. This past Thursday, a group of Grand Rapids Twitter users gathered to help another out. A husband and wife had a very bad week.
Their car was stolen and found weeks later with the body dented. Someone had jumped on the car and yet nothing of value in the vehicle was taken. Then the pumpkins they had carved had been stolen. One pumpkin was even grown by their 6-year-old daughter. It left me incredulous; why would anyone steal a jack-o-lantern?
The reasons for these crimes may never be answered. They sound like silly high school pranks.
One Twitter user suggested to the rest of us through direct messages that we do something to brighten their day. He suggested we bring pumpkins to their house and leave them on the porch. This was to be a secret. A group of nine of us bought pumpkins and dropped them off.
Though this group was self-proclaimed the “pumpkin ninjas” we were not as stealthful as ninjas and were caught. The expression on the wife’s face was initially that of concern and when we explained ourselves, she ran inside to get her husband. She was in disbelief and after the shock wore off, she thanked us profusely. They both did.
Truthfully, as much as we were told we were appreciated and how blessed they felt, my reward came from seeing the husband’s and wife’s reaction. I felt blessed to take part in this event that would not have happen if I had never joined Twitter.
The couple talked about community and how they had longed for that here in their new home of Grand Rapids and had not found it until they joined Twitter. I didn’t really acknowledge it but looking at my circle of friends, most of them I have now met through or keep in touch with on Twitter. I don’t know my neighbors and most Americans don’t know their neighbors. People go to work, come home, lock the door behind them, and stay in or go out with the family. So much time is spent away from home but at the office that precious time at home is spent with the family and no neighbors and rarely friends as well. It’s easy to live in a house for years and never know your neighbors.
With Twitter, you can search for people in Grand Rapids and communicate to them in 140 characters. There is no room for frivolous, flowery words that tip toe around the question, “What are you doing?” Your “followers” as people are called that read answers you post to the question, “What are you doing?” get to know and what you do in your day-to-day life. And “Nothing” and “Not much” will not suffice. From these internet interactions, you seek out meeting these people in real life and sometimes, a friendship is built upon this web application that simplified communication to 140 characters.