I’ll admit to being a relative newbie to social media. I’ve been on Facebook for a few years and I’ve got a rarely-checked Linked-In profile, but the world of tweets, blogs and other stuff remained a relatively closed book to me until a few months ago.
That’s when I decided to blog about our move down under. Partly as a way of keeping friends and relatives in touch with our news, but also as a way of documenting and offering tips for other people in a similar situation – when I had searched for a blog or website on the personal experience of moving to Canberra, I couldn’t find one, so I decided to write one myself.
I saw Twitter as a way of promoting the blog and of seeking out tips and information about our new home.
I confess that I started using these media with some trepidation – Twitter in particular, because I had two previous attempts to use it and, well, I just didn’t get it. Five months later and my perceptions have changed immeasurably and, now, rather than seeing social media as a way of disengaging with the real world, I see it as a way of connecting with it in a much more human way than I’d ever thought possible.
A positive experience
You only have to take a look at the comments that have been posted on this blog to see that, without exception, friends, acquaintances and complete strangers have offered the best of themselves – good wishes, great advice and even tangible help. If you’re one of those people. On behalf of my whole family, thank you. You’ve helped us to feel less alone on this journey than we otherwise might have done.
I’m also very proud to say that I haven’t had to moderate a single comment in the blog comments field. Every comment submitted to this site has been published without need of intervention on my part. In these days of internet horror stories, that’s incredibly gratifying.
My first official social invitation in Canberra came via Twitter – to attend the Canberra Tweetup’s annual Christmas dinner. Of course, I accepted, but I will feel slightly fraudulent – I tweet less frequently and certainly less expertly than many of the others who will attend. Nevertheless, that crossover between Twitter-life and real life was an unexpectedly pleasant surprise and I’m looking forward to it immensely.
It was via Twitter that I learnt of a local author’s appeal to crowd-fund a book of stories set in Canberra. I subscribed – as an author who has also benefited from a crowd-funding project, I felt it important to support not just a kindred spirit, but also the writing scene in my new home.
As a result of the level of my pledge (not expensive at all really), I bagged an invitation to the book launch, which will take place at Old Parliament House and will also be attended by ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. I am excited both for the author and for myself at mixing with such august company just a few weeks after my arrival – although, again, I will feel slightly fraudulent; as if I am still masquerading as a ‘real Canberran’.
Generosity of spirit
There were also offers of furniture that came in via Twitter, which were both humbling and incredibly generous. Think about that – someone who only knows me and my family via Twitter offered to lend us some of their furniture to minimise our hardship until our furniture arrives. I think that’s astonishing.
My conclusion surprises me a little. The social media experience I’ve had so far has been a shining example of the kindness, generosity and humanity of fellow bloggers and tweeters. I’m honoured that so many have chosen to follow and interact with our simple migration story and, as a result of that encouragement, I’ve decided to continue blogging beyond our arrival in Canberra.
I’m sure we have many more adventures ahead of us, but for now, thanks for following, thanks for your warmth, and thanks for your encouragement.