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Happy Birthday Twitter! My 10 favorite moments

By March 21, 2016

Today Twitter is celebrating its 10th birthday. I joined the service in the summer of 2008 and now, nearly eight years later, I could not picture my life without it. Twitter has singlehandedly transformed my personal as well as my professional life: it has been an invaluable tool for connecting with inspiring people, getting my work out into the world, and so much more. On this day, I’d love to reflect back on my 10 favorite moments on Twitter.

10) My First Tweet

This is where it all began. My first tweet:

9) #AdoptTheIllusionists

In the spring of 2014, I ran a Twitter campaign for my documentary The Illusionists. The goal? To put the film on the radar of some of my favorite actors and directors, in the hope of finding a famous narrator – or ambassador – for the film.

Each day the campaign targeted a different celebrity: I would ask my followers to tweet the same message, mentioning @illusionists and linking to a blog post (“It Only Takes One Person”) that explained my journey so far and the need for support.

The results were astounding: hundreds of tweets every single day, and encouraging responses by the likes of Geena Davis, Stephen Fry and Alex Gibney (my favorite documentary filmmaker).

8) Press: The Cut

Time and time again, Twitter has allowed me to reach out to influential journalists, who would notice my work and then end up writing articles about me. My favorite example? This tweet to Stella Bugbee, editorial director of New York Magazine’s The Cut.

Two weeks later:

7) Only on Twitter: Morgan Spurlock

When I speak of the magic of Twitter, this is the first example that comes to mind: how Twitter allows you to interact with celebrities and influential people, breaking down barriers… and sometimes resulting in unforgettable meetings.

During a visit to New York City, on the spur of the moment, I sent the following tweet to Morgan Spurlock (director of Super Size Me).

Imagine my shock when he responded, only minutes later, and prompted me to get in touch with his assistant to set up a meeting to talk about The Illusionists:

Simply unforgettable.

6) From Followers to Friends

Some people claim that it’s difficult to make new friends in your adult life, after college. My experience hasn’t been so… thanks in large part to Twitter. I have connected with many interesting people who have then become real life friends. Dozens of friends. Twitter is really that awesome.

One of the earliest friends I made on the platform is amazing New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly:

5) Jobs: Corriere della Sera

Twitter has been a gift, connecting me with new friends… as well as incredible job opportunities.

Case in point: making videos for Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera.

How did I get that job, you may ask? I sent a tweet to their Paris correspondent, who noticed my work as a videographer… and then he suggested to his editor that I film interviews for the newspaper’s website.

For one of the interviews – featuring politician Marine Le Pen – I was also asked to take photos, which ended up in the print edition of the paper.

Words cannot describe how proud my parents were to see my photo credit in Corriere della Sera – they have been subscribers for over 30 years!

4) Twitter fangirl

My most successful tweet to date? This one:

Why? It was retweeted by Jack himself!

3) Networking – The 3% Conference

Networking is truly Twitter’s strongest suit. I discovered the amazing 3% Conference because during its first edition, many people I followed on Twitter sent numerous messages about it. I reached out to the conference’s founder, Kat Gordon… we moved our conversation to Skype… ended up striking up an email correspondence and, fast forward a couple of years, I was invited to be a speaker there.

The conference was incredible… It also got my film on the radar of employees of Apple and Google… who then invited me to do screenings for them. The 2015 Silicon Valley Tour of The Illusionists was the most rewarding professional week of my life. All this thanks to one tweet.

2) The Magic of Twitter: Love Story

After watching the iconic film “Love Story”, I sent out this tweet:

Guess who liked it? Leading actor Ryan O’Neil himself! Only on Twitter…

1) The Lottie Selfie

My coolest freelance job of 2015 is the direct result of a tweet.

Long story short: when I was a speaker at Dublin’s Inspirefest, I received a goodie bag that included a Lottie doll. I was immediately smitten with it: what sets Lotties apart from other dolls is that they are focused on activities and promote positive body image. I took a selfie with it and posted it on Twitter – to my mother’s dismay. That evening, she went, “Elena, what are you doing at your age, posting photos online with a doll?”

Thanks to the tweet, the Lottie team noticed my work… and two months after posting the selfie, I received an email from the Lottie co-founder, asking me if I was interested in making a video for them. The subject: a documentary about Stargazer Lottie, the doll they created in collaboration with a 6 year old girl in Canada and the European Space Agency… which would end up traveling to the International Space Station, making history as the first doll in space. NBC News, Silicon Republic, Upworthy and many others wrote about it:

Happy birthday Twitter. Thank you for the incredible memories!