I’ve met some lovely people, online and offline, since I came to Australia.
Party it’s because Sydney is a fantastic city. It really is. It’s so big there’s a group for you to join, whatever you’re into. People are friendly and normally behave themselves. The anti-social behaviour that now so plagues the UK is next to non-existent in the city centre at least. It’s sunny and gorgeous and I’m Happy here. Heck, I’ve only been threatened with violence once, and that was by a creationist science-denier, so it doesn’t count.
But partly it’s because the Internet is awesome. We live in a wonderful time. From the abysmal horror of Web 1.0, the blogosphere and social networks have arisen and let us connect and communicate and fling information around in the most wonderful ways. I recently became fired up (a year late, as usual) for Twitter. If you don’t use it you should try it. In a way it’s just another social site with a twist: it’s text-only, and every update is 140 letters or less. Some call it microblogging, but I prefer to think of the Facebook status update without the extraneous crap. It’s quick-fire and you can do it from the web, an app on your PC, the mobile web or even SMS! You can use a Facebook app to update your FB status when you Tweet. Hilariously, the steaming pile called MySpace (yes, I’m on there, too) also has such app, but it works in the wrong direction. Facepalm.
But that’s not really what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about Happiness. Epicurus said:
Of all the means which wisdom acquires to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is friendship.
He might have been right, you know. And social networking works best when the technology plays second fiddle to the community. What makes Twitter is the people who Tweet: The Tweeps. Take web communications technology, and add friendship to it and you have the most wonderful potential for Happiness!
I don’t know him very well, but he’s doing a pretty good job of teaching me about Australian politics (I and hate learning about politics). He’s also very friendly and had a wonderful, a truly marvellous idea a few weeks ago. I’ll let him pick up the story:
I was cleaning my office, looking for something to distract me from cleaning my office, when I wiped my whiteboard clean and… for no good reason, cartoonly duplicated 20 twitter avatars with a whiteboard marker. Poing! Just like that. These were a random selection of people who I have had twitter conversations with some of whom are proper internet friends and some of whom were there at the time and well, I love everybody. I felt a bit foolish. But there they were. I posted it. (I am still uncomfortable with the term tweet as in “I tweeted it”) but I did.
And you can guess the rest. The requests came flooding in, Mr Onthemoon got busy and a silly, gleeful party atmosphere overtook my little corner of the Twitterverse, as my (still relatively new) friends admired each other’s new faces. The First Dog did over 90 in about as many hours. And I was super-kindly included!
Isn’t that lovely? Just a wonderfully mad idea that just made people Happy and then escalated. And the good news is, First Dog has apparently benefitted a little from his generosity:
I have also increased by about million followers in no time at all. I have asked people to nominate me for a shorty which is a twitter award. No really, they have them. I have inadvertantly raised my social media profile quite a bit. People are blogging about it….
And that brings us to a topic that I want to cover more soon. You don’t need to invoke the supernatural to show that a positive, optimistic, Happy and loving attitude can bring forth abundant rewards. Happiness is both contagious and it grows. We just need to get out there and spread it.
So, First Dog On The Moon, I salute you! And it occurs to me that I haven’t yet seen the favour returned. So, I don’t have a tablet, I can’t draw and I mouse with my non-writing hand. But I just want to say: