13th Twitter-versary

I woke up this morning to a notification injected into my timeline in the Twitter app.

Twitter Anniversary

Apparently it’s my “Twitter anniversary” which I can “celebrate” by tweeting out a pre-made picture of the number 13. That’s too easy. Instead I recently downloaded my Twitter data. Let me be self-indulgent and take a look and see what happened over those 13 years.

For those who haven’t tried downloading their Twitter data, what you get is a browseable archive with a summary front page.

Archive front page

Worth noting the archive contains your own tweets, direct messages and other data, but doesn’t have the tweets you replied to. It is possible to click through and view them in context back at twitter.com but if the person you’re conversing with has deleted their tweets, you end up with a disjointed mess, looking like you’re talking to yourself.

It’s quite fun to browse the erudite thoughts nonsense you’ve released to the world over the years. In we go!

My first tweet. Gold content, right here.

I had signed up before but maybe didn’t understand it or like it. I deleted my account a while later, then changed my mind again, and re-created it. So maybe it’s a little over 13 years now, but that data is lost to the mists of time.

Back in 2008 Twitter clients were all the rage. Sad that now we’re basically stuck with the web, tweetdeck and the official app. I used to really like mucking about with Gwibber and other funky clients.

At the time I was commuting to Wales each week for work. I shared a rented house with a co-worker, where we had no TV and no broadband connection. Twitter was all I had, on a terrible 3G connection. So I moaned a bit about the lack of Internet.

Narrator: Alan didn’t do any programming back then.

I still moan about my Internet connection going down. Nothing changes there. Now though, I can whinge directly at my ISP!

I don’t envy the people working in customer support for my ISP, they get a flood of tweets like mine whenever there’s an outage. In fact now when the “Internet is down” I often search their brand name on twitter before I bother with their status page. It’s usually a more accurate barometer of whether it’s a local issue or something more widespread. So that’s handy!

My employer at the time issued me with a brand new ThinkPad, which I was clearly excited to receive. Nothing changes here!

Long before I started working at Canonical, I was an enthusiastic Ubuntu user.

In fact, installing Ubuntu on the above ThinkPad almost got me fired by a very persnickety security auditor. It was quite stressful having someone sit on your desk and demand you immediately delete a partition or you’ll be walked off-site. I called her bluff and said I’d hand the laptop back if she forced me to use Windows. I also threw a co-worker under the bus and said “He uses Ubuntu too!”, which helped my cause.

It all worked out in the end once they investigated and realised I was compliant with all company IT policies. Happy memories πŸ₯°.

I did engage in a little bit of Vague Tweeting.

Vague status

I suspect this “secret plot” was planning for the start of Ubuntu Podcast, which launched later that year as Ubuntu UK Podcast, and is still going 13 years later!

I think my favourite tweet from back in the early days of Twitter is this one where I admitted to being a bit of a dork, googling for aircraft registration numbers when I see them on TV. Yes, I am sad.

Surprisingly though, the actual owner of the helicopter in question emailed me soon after, saying they saw my tweet and offered me a ride in it!

In 2016 I had what (for me) would be considered a ‘viral’ tweet. I think to this day, 4 years later, it’s still the one that’s been most shared and favourited. It’s basically me bitching about how much memory Slack consumes. I seemed to hit a nerve though.

I still feel kinda bad about that negative tweet. However, I was happy to report 18 months later, that the situation had improved.

I sometimes get a bit too snarky on Twitter for my own good. In my defence, there’s a popular blog post speculating on this topic which keeps getting shared over and over on socials. It gets a bit tedious when you see it every few days. Hey ho, it was probably funny to me at the time.

Also, around the same time, I was getting grumpy about Distrowatch. Something I have long lamented and eventually blogged about yesterday in more detail. I’ll shut up about this topic now.

I think the general grumpyness back in May last year could be somewhat correlated with the family breakdown we had. The single emoji tweet I posted on 14th summed up my feelings. It was quite a low point.

Sorry to anyone I was grumpy at last year. It was shit. Still is, but the end is in sight.

On a more positive note, before all the nonsense, I used to like posting old photos of my cars. Here’s my first car.

In 2019 I had another fun highlight. There was a whole “Stop The Coup” movement which bled onto Twitter with the #stopthecoup hashtag. Unfortunately some people mis-typed or autocorrected this to #stopthecoupe. A coupe being a car, not an organised attempt at overthrowing the establishment. A bunch of people amusingly pointed this out, and I joined in.

For some reason Twitter decided to use my photo to highlight the trending #stopthecoupe hashtag.


I don’t think I can top this. I peaked on Twitter in 2019.

It’s mostly been a fun 13 years on Twitter though. I’ve made friends and learned a lot along the way. Here’s to another 13. 🍹