How to Make Friends on Twitter with Visakan Veerasamy – Venture Stories

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Key Takeaways

  • “If you can find one true friend who really gets you, it’s worth going through 100 annoying people and pointless conversations to get there”Visakan Veerasamy
  • Empathy is at the root of every close friendship
  • “Possibility is always in the air for me with Twitter” – Visakan Veerasamy
    • You can go on Twitter, find someone who’s working on something you care about, make friends with them, and they can change your life
  • Be curious enough to understand other people’s life experiences
    • People process stimuli in different ways according to their respective life experiences, influencing how they view the world
      • Thus, many disagreements are simply the result of people having different paths up to the present moment
  • Whatever it is you want to do – whether acquiring a new skill, getting better at managing your money, getting fit, or building a company – project management is necessary
    • Anything worth doing is a long-term effort that’s bigger than what you can accomplish in a single day 
  • It’s essential to have a system for dealing with the inevitable conflicts that occur within marriages and close relationships 

Books Mentioned

Intro

  • Visakan Veerasamy (@viasakanv) is someone you all should be following on Twitter. He joins Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) for a conversation about friendship, Twitter as a global brain, online communities, fame, and how we can better relate to others.

Visakan’s Life Mission

  • “Right now, my mission is to make as many interesting friends around the world as I can” Visakan Veerasamy
    • “There is a lot of value I can create in the world by connecting people to each other”

Friendship

  • “So many people are lonely and disconnected, and yet, not many people seem to do what seemed obvious to me; if I don’t have any friends, I should go out and make friends.” – Visakan Veerasamy
    • Why don’t people do it? – For a variety of reasons: they’re scared, they’re worried about rejection, etc.
  • “If you can find one true friend who really gets you, it’s worth going through 100 annoying people and pointless conversations to get there” Visakan Veerasamy
  • The true meaning of a “friend”:
    • You’ve probably known each other for at least ~1 year
    • You’ve helped each other in some way
    • You’ve shared some sort of personal/intimate information with each other
    • You may do activities together
    • But then again – you can talk to someone for a decade and still not be as close to them as someone you just meant

How has Viskan managed to attract so many friends?

  • “When someone is having a terrible day, or going through big changes, I can sit with them and talk for hours” – Visakan Veerasamy
  • Erik reads a quote from Jonathan Franzen:
    • “Love is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self’s own spiritual well-being. Whereas to love a specific person and identify with their struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.”

The Evolution of Twitter

  • In the super early days, Twitter didn’t have a retweet button
    • Instead, you’d have to copy/paste someone’s whole tweet and add “RT” in front
    • Also, early on, people only followed their friend groups and celebrities
  • Over time, with every added feature, Twitter began it’s journey to a global conspicuousness
    • First, it was retweets, then it was quote tweets, then threads, all contributing to where the platform’s at today

Twitter is a Permissionless Global Brain

  • “I see Twitter as the closest thing we have to a permissionless global brain”Erik Torenberg
    • Visakan agrees – “It just feels so… I’d described it as transhuman… Every day I find new people who’ve discovered some of my old tweets… Every time someone favorites an old tweet of mine, it feels like that part of my brain lights up, and I’m reminded of that idea.”
  • Twitter is an amazing tool
    • You can go on Twitter, find someone who’s working on something you care about, make friends with them, and they can change your life
      • “Possibility is always in the air for me with Twitter” – Visakan Veerasamy

How to Do a Better Job of Making Friends

  • #1 – You have to believe that making friends is worth it
  • #2 – Be curious enough to understand other people’s life experiences
    • Why is this so important?
      • People process stimuli/events in different ways according to their respective life experiences, influencing how they view the world
        • Thus, many disagreements are simply the result of people having different paths up to the present moment
        • Visakan adds: “Be able to recognize that your own mental model of the world may be flawed. Some people don’t even consider that. If you don’t have that first principle consideration, you’ll never be able to have a constructive disagreement.”
          • “If you know how to have a nuanced conversation, encountering someone else on Twitter who also knows how to have a nuanced conversation is amazing. But there are lots of people who haven’t learned how to do that.”

Project Management

  • “So many of the bad things that have happened to me, or the negative consequences I’ve faced, have been from my poor project management” – Visakan Veerasamy
  • One of the reasons the idea of project management became so interesting to Visakan is because of the “sheer amount of variance in people’s competence at it”
  • Whatever it is you want to do – whether acquiring a new skill, getting better at managing your money, getting fit, or building a company – project management is necessary
    • Anything worth doing is a long-term effort that’s bigger than what you can accomplish in a single day 
    • Related: Visakan has tweeted – “Some people d*** around their whole lives, and other people build cathedrals and rocket ships”

Every Relationship Needs its Own Economy

  • Relationships, particularly marriages, need day-to-day maintenance work
  • “If so many people are getting divorced and so many people are unhappy in their marriages, clearly there’s some missing element” – Visakan Veerasamy
  • Even if your partner is your favorite person in the world, because you’re in such close proximity, it’s easy to wind up upset with each other (despite them statistically upsetting you the least out of everyone you know)
    • In other terms – The number of opportunities you and your partner have to upset each other is exponentially higher compared to your other relationships
      • Thus, it’s inevitable that your spouse will upset/hurt you more than anyone else
  • Because of the above, you need a system for managing the inevitable conflicts and frustrations that are bound to happen
  • What can you do?
    • Schedule time for the difficult conversations (perhaps 1x a month)
    • Or, make the rule that every time a difficult conversation needs to be had, everything else has to be dropped immediately 

Strong Feelings vs. Zen Detachment

  • This is probably one of the hardest questions of life: In which situations do you show strong emotion, and when do you show detachment?
  • Another similar question to ponder: How open should one be with their close friends?
    • On one level, you need to be open. But on another, you certainly don’t want to unpack your daily trauma every time you see a particular friend.
    • Related to this idea: “If you want to have deep, intimate relationships with people who are going to cry at your funeral, it requires the opposite of ‘chill.’ 
  • Visakan recalls a quote: “Love tells me that I’m everything, wisdom tells me that I’m nothing, and between the two banks flows the river of my life”
  • Given the above, Visakan has the following strategy: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (and then start over)
    • For example, when you’re chatting with someone, and you sense that they’re having a bad day, hold back on telling them a funny joke – it’s all about reading the situation
  • Another rule: try as best you can to reflect on your own internal state and discover the truth of how you really feel
    • One way to do this – journaling

Additional Notes

  • With 10k followers on Twitter, you can probably organize a meet up with a group of followers wherever you are in the world
  • Visakan married his first girlfriend
  • Check out the essay – How Intellectuals Create a Public
  • Visakan lives in Singapore
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