#BeforeTwitterI … five ways the little blue bird has changed our lives

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world before Twitter, a world pre-2006. A world in which MySpace was still a thing, and in which the selfie was in preschool. But exist it did.

And today people are discussing what that looked like. One of the highest trending hashtags worldwide is currently #BeforeTwitterI. There’s deep discussion about how the little blue bird has changed our lives – for better and for worse.

So here are five things that have been transformed in my life. Before Twitter I…

Could leave a conversation when I wanted

“Hi, could you possibly loop me out of this, thanks?”, “Hi me again, could you possibly stop @ me? Thanks”, “COULD YOU PLEASE STOP CLOGGING UP MY MENTIONS FFS”.

You all know how it goes. You make the mistake of replying or casually contributing to a discussion on Twitter, and then all of a sudden you are caught up in a 40-replies mammoth argument about something you barely, if at all, care about.

Had to actually call a company to complain

It used to be that companies could afford to be a bit crap, because which of us was willing to dial a premium phone number, spend 20 minutes on hold being forced to listen to awful 90s trance music, before being accidentally/on purpose cut off?

Twitter has democratised the customer complaint. Now, if a company messes up, others will know about it. Don’t think we won’t come at you with a “.@”, because we will. And if that doesn’t work, there’s the other weapon in the Twitter arsenal: the subtweet.

Research has found that companies are quicker to respond to tweeted complaints, and most worth their salt have brand accounts.

Twitter complaint to Briitsh Airways
One Twitter user even bought a Promoted tweet to make his feelings known. Photograph: Twitter
Was relatively articulate

If we’re being positive here, we could say that Twitter’s 140 character limit makes us all more concise and less rambling when it comes to making a point. It might even be the training ground for aspiring advertising execs honing slogans or wannabe speechwriters practicing soundbites.

It also, however, has led to the elmntn of vwls, and awkward abbrevs. And don’t even get me started on people dividing their argument into fractions… (1/2)

…which is just really annoying, but unfortunately often necessary (2/2).

Wasn’t personally insulted and abused for doing my job

“Did you get paid to write this?”, “What is this crap?”, “Get back in the kitchen”, “I can’t believe I read that”. Thanks for your valued feedback.

I think what we’ve all realised from being on Twitter is that around 15% of humans are amazing, kindly, witty souls – and the other 85% leave a lot to be desired, amirite?

Could catch up on TV

Catch-up TV – what a great invention! We get to watch programmes on-demand. Fan of The Fall? Great! But you can still go to the pub, because Jamie Dornan will be waiting for you the next day in his hoodie, and Gillian Anderson still smouldering in her silk blouses.

Twitter, however, has cruelly negated the wonders of catch-up TV. Because don’t think for a second that everybody on your feed won’t be live-tweeting every episode, covering everything in minute detail – shirt colour, texture, buttons and all.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Hannah Jane Parkinson, for theguardian.com on Thursday 19th March 2015 15.52 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010