When I say I use Twitter, the usual reaction is “Oh geez, one of those people, thinking every minutiae of their life should be disseminated in 140 characters.” As is the case with most things, getting people to change how they stereotype things isn’t easy. So, sometimes I just let it ride and say, “Yep, I know my 600 followers hang onto my every ‘going to the bathroom now’ tweet!” Other times, I try and take the time to explain to them what Twitter means to me.
I’ve explored this topic before, but from a “how to use Twitter to watch pro racing” angle. Twitter is an invaluable tool to helping one enjoy pro cycling to the fullest. Now that’s it’s been a little over a year since I started using Twitter seriously, I’ve discovered how it’s so much more than just a way to enjoy pro cycling. It’s also a place to make friends and find motivation.
Not only is Twitter a place to participate in pro cycling, it’s also a place to discuss the many facets of cycling. You can use Twitter to follow along while races are happening. You can dissect race results and tactics when they’re happening and when they’re over. You can follow breaking news and developing rumors. You can discover cyclists to obsess over. You can dish over all the hot cyclists!
Twitter isn’t all good, all the time. It’s easy to get lost in the minutia- any event, race, rumor, comment, is discussed and argued and picked apart down to the smallest detail. It’s often easy to get caught up in the negative sides of the sport (the doping, the cynicism, the corruption). And as anyone who’s spent any time on Twitter knows, it’s impossible to win an argument in 140 characters, so it often devolves into name calling and insults. As a person who doesn’t deal well with lots of negativity, I have to be careful to not let myself get sucked into that part of Twitter.
But, Twitter is more than just racing and tactics and rumors. I have, dare I say, made friends on Twitter! Some scoff at this idea, saying you can’t be friends with people you only know as a Twitter personality, or asking how do I even know that these people are real. In truth, I have no way of knowing if these are real people. They could all be robots, or impostors, or scam artists. But my trusting nature and the length of time I’ve known many of these people leads me to believe they are real. And the fact that I’ve meet a few of them in the flesh (@cyclebordom, @iowakathy, @theepicride) helps reinforce this idea. But the main reason I think they’re real? They care about me. They care about the ups and downs of my life. When I tweet that I’m having a shitty day, they reply and want to know what’s wrong and hope I feel better. When I tweet that I had an awesome ride and feel great, they reply to say congrats or ask about the ride. When I tweet sometime discussion worthy, they’ll engage me in conversation and debate. Those are the things that convince me they’re real people.
However, the best thing I get from Twitter? Motivation. I don’t have many people to share my cycling obsession with in the real world and on Twitter I can be as cycling nerdy as I want and my Twitter friends will share that with me. They want to know about my rides, my progress, and my adventures, so I want to ride to have something to share. When I started following cycling, I didn’t have a bike. The more I got into Twitter and saw how much those I followed loved their bikes and riding, the more I wanted to be part of that. Once I got my bike, I wanted to share how I felt and my Twitter friends were there for that. If I’m ever feeling sick of my bike, or I don’t feel in the mood for riding, I just hang out on Twitter for awhile, and I remember why I love it.
To be riveted by all my bathroom journeys, follow me @bloomingcyclist.