Tuesday 13 November 2012

The power of (deaf) Twitter

Every day I am more and more amazed by the power of Twitter.

Twitter – in all it's 140 characters of sometimes hilarity, sometimes abuse and often just random chatter – is becoming quite a fixture in my life.

But not just in a way to showcase my latest baked goods or banter with some of my favourite Twitter peeps – come back soon @grouchotendency – but in a way of finding out stuff, accessing information that I would otherwise struggle to access and get things done where once, only a phone call would do.

Take yesterday for example. I finally took the plunge and applied to Thames Water for a water meter. After all, there is only me in my flat, I don't have a dishwasher, I take showers not baths, and I do one load of washing a week. I even brush my teeth with the tap turned off. So I had begun to resent paying so much for water, when I clearly wasn't using it.

I applied online for the meter. It was compulsory to put your phone number and email address and when I hit send, I got a notification message that someone would be calling me to arrange a home visit to check whether my house was suitable for a meter.

'Bother' I thought, dreading that unrecognised number flashing up on my telephone and I immediately tweeted about this issue and thought nothing more about it.

But then, this morning, I received a tweet from Kirsty @ThamesWater asking me if there was anything she could do to help – she'd obviously seen my indirect mention of Thames Water from the previous day. I told her my predicament and she started following me on Twitter so that I could DM her my details. 

As a result of this, there is a now a note on my details making sure that I am only contacted by post and email and apparently also, there is a letter about someone coming to check whether it's possible to have a water meter fitted and appointment times. So no phone calls will be needed.

Amazing huh?

All that from Twitter.

It's not the first time I've sorted something that I'd otherwise need the phone for. The marvellous peeps on the @o2 Twitter feed sorted out my home broadband, if I tweet that I'm not well, friends will offer to ring the GP, and when I locked myself out of my flat, lovely peeps as far away as Edinburgh offered their ears to make calls for me. 

And let's not forget last Friday evening when my First Great Western train was diverted via Bath and Bristol. Unable to hear the announcements, I tweeted @FGW and the lovely Ollie got straight back to me explaining that the diversion and delay were due to signal failure.

When I joined Twitter all those years ago, I thought it'd be fun – a way of spreading the Deafinitely Girly word. But what it's becoming more and more is a way to help me live my life – a productive, informative, phone-call free, deaf-friendly way.

That and a way to win books – since I've joined Twitter, I have won a lot of books.

Twitter doesn't have to be about trolling or controversy. It's possible to turn it into a little information machine, another pair of ears in a very un-deaf-friendly world. People like @Kidsaudiologist who advised me when I had a hearing wobble or @paulbelmontesli who offers advice on everything from chocolate to well, everything actually.

I never thought it was possible. But it really is.

And let's not forget half the guest list for my Accidental Wedding in April is coming from Twitter. Including @KatieFforde who is my maid of honour – who I met on Twitter because of my love of cooking.

Thanks to my First Great Western delay I bashed out more than the first two chapters of The Accidental Wedding on the train last Friday…

Better get writing faster though if the wedding's in April really, hadn't I?

Save the date peeps! Save the date!

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