It was the morning of October 18th, 2018 and I was on my way to work in an auto-rickshaw in New Delhi, India.
As is common amongst my generation (Millennials!), mornings involve catching up on social media. After going through Facebook, I opened up Twitter. While scrolling through my feed, I noticed an interesting tweet by Twitter and a recent, very interesting reply by Deutsche Welle (DW News).
I had previously noticed that DW used to tweet funny things every now and then, particularly as replies to Twitter and found it quite entertaining.
This time, however, I immediately had a retort in mind so I chipped in. They were being funny, I wanted to be funny too. Plus, worth a shot, right?
Now, in hindsight of course, there is more context so as to why I tweeted that specifically in a reflex; the fact that I wasn’t happy with the job I had then or that I had been fishing for a reason to move back to Germany because I had studied there or because my (now-ex) girlfriend lived there.
But having tweeted that, I moved on with my day without any expectation. It’s a long long shot, I thought. The auto-rickshaw pulled up outside my office, I paid the driver and walked inside. As I went up the stairs, I got a notification that read ‘DW News replied to you.’ I was quite surprised.
TBQH, any response from them would have been surprising, but this was very nice of them, they were playing along, I thought, and since my spontaneity got such a positive response, I chipped in further.
I went on with my day, not really expecting anything more to happen. But by the time I got to my desk and sat down, my phone was buzzing with notifications. Random people had started liking and retweeting the tweets. Some were cheering me on and wishing me luck. It felt good.
Again, I didn’t really expect any response from DW. This was probably as far as it got and they must regret replying to me in the first place, I thought, but because it was getting so much traction, I tweeted again.
It was about 45 minutes later when I got a notification that said ‘DW News replied to you’ and my heart skipped a beat when I read their reply.
For the first time that morning, I felt like I might actually have a chance here so I decided to take a step further and tweeted a link to my LinkedIn profile.
Meanwhile, people continued to join the conversation. It had gone viral.
I couldn’t work that day anymore. My phone wouldn’t stop buzzing with notifications and I couldn’t stop my heart from racing and my brain from bouncing between ‘is this really happening?’ to ‘this can’t possibly be real!’.
People kept coming in and many were now asking for updates on the situation and DW finally responded with something that made me jump.
I was shocked. They were actually considering me. Meanwhile, my phone was blowing up with notifications. Too much was going on. I got up, took my phone, and walked out of our office, scrolling past the tweets piling from all over the world. I couldn’t stop smiling. It was surreal.
I had to thank all the kind strangers rooting for me, it really meant a lot.
The tweets continued. Growing exponentially, along with the grin on my face.
So many people were cheering for me, it was unbelievable. I do not recall any other moment in life when I felt so uplifted because of strangers.
Friends who noticed also starting chipping in.
But it was the countless strangers and their compliments who made my day.
I took time to reply to as many as I could, thanking them for their support, which was probably the only reason this might actually work, and even if it didn’t, this was good enough an experience for me already.
And then towards the end of the day, DW replied again, this time asking me to drop them a DM with my email, which I did, with my fingers crossed.
And sure enough, the next morning (yes, I couldn’t sleep that night, as I was constantly checking all the thousands of notifications), I had an email from DW inviting me for a Skype interview.
A week later we had the interview. It went well, we spoke about a lot of things and laughed about how this had all come to pass. Later, I posted an update for everyone who was still following up with me on Twitter.
Since I was already scheduled to be in Berlin for New Year's Eve, DW invited me to undertake shadow shifts there, so we could all see whether this would be a good fit or not, and it made sense. Practicality was a thing too.
So, I did two shadow shifts with them in the first week of January 2019, super nervously. It felt like I was carrying the expectations of everyone who had cheered me on, plus my own ginormous desire to work with them. After that, they said they would let me know after discussing it internally.
I returned to Delhi the following week having no idea whether or not it would work out, and when I didn’t hear back from them for some time, I started to think perhaps this was all too good to be true.
It was February 4th, 2019, when I got the email. They had liked me and wanted to work with me! I couldn’t believe it. It took almost 5 months, but it happened. I got a job through Twitter.
It took another month to sort out the visa, and finally in April 2019, I landed in Bonn to work with DW News as a Community Manager for Social Media.
Today, I have been working with them for almost 6 months, and it has been, hands down, the best professional experience of my life.
I could have NEVER imagined actually getting the job when I tweeted, but I guess this is the power of social media, and this is the power of community. I truly believe that if it hadn’t been for all those people interacting positively with my tweets online that day, this probably would not have happened.
People usually talk about how social media has negatively impacted life and society, and how people are always bickering online, but this experience changed my life and opened my eyes; like everything else, social media is dependant on how you use it, and when people come together to reverberate positivity, miracles can and do happen.