I was fifteen years old when I discovered the internet as I know and love it today. I signed up for a Twitter account in 2008. Since then, Twitter has been my favorite social network and honestly the only one I’ve ever really cared about. Thinking back, I realize that I’d be at a completely different place in life if I hadn’t stumbled across Twitter and hadn’t given it a try four years ago.
Back then, I had a basic knowledge of HTML, liked casual computer games and playing around in Photoshop. I had a bad taste in design, almost no skills (I didn’t know how to center an element in CSS up until 2009!) and a mediocre, abandoned blog with five posts in it. I even lacked a decent sense of humour. But still, people followed me. Older people and people with more experience chose to follow me on Twitter. I’m still incredibly thankful for that. Those people taught me about design and code, did a number of collaborative projects with me, and I became friends with many of them. Later this afternoon, I’ll drive up to Hamburg to look at an apartment that Lukas and I might move into in a couple of weeks. If it hadn’t been for Twitter, I wouldn’t know him and I wouldn’t even think about moving to Hamburg.
As I turn 20 years old this month, I know that I can’t think of myself as the youngest person in the room anymore. I often find myself belittling younger people on the web and not taking their work seriously. That’s because I sometimes still think of myself as a kid on the web, not as a grown-up.
It’s not that easy to give younger people a chance though: I follow enough people on Twitter, so following a new person has become a bigger deal to me. Back in the early days, I was desperately looking for people to follow, so I was happy about every new person I met. Right now, I don’t even look at my new follower’s recent tweets to decide if I want to follow them back. I just don’t.
I’m not entirely sure how to conclude this. “Take a look at yourself, be thankful, give something back”? Nope, too cheesy. Just try to think about what person you were when you first signed up for a Twitter account. But still, I will try to take younger people more seriously and criticize their work constructively instead of just shooting them down.