Gini Dietrich

The Value of the TweetUp

By: Gini Dietrich | November 10, 2011 | 
82

It’s Facebook question of the week time (clap, clap, clap)!

Unfortunately, I have had zero time to scan the questions and record a video.

You may be asking yourself why I have time to type a blog post and not record a video. It’s because I’m still in my PJs…and a portion of this blog post was already in my drafts folder.

So we’re going to talk TweetUps today. And I’ll be back on schedule next week.

A few weeks ago, Joe Thornley, Martin Waxman, and I (as the hosts of Inside PR) had the pleasure of co-hosting a TweetUp with PRSA at their international conference in Orlando.

As the RSVP list began to fill, there were common questions from those deciding if they were going to attend: What do I do at a TweetUp? Do I need to bring my phone so I can tweet? Is it weird that everyone is on their phones instead of talking to one another?

The truth of the matter is, there is no tweeting at a TweetUp. Rather, you actually spend time getting to know one another face-to-face (gasp!).

It’s a weird time we live in. Ten ย years ago, if we’d talked about meeting someone online and becoming friends with them (or dating and marrying) before meeting them in person, you’d think them certifiably nuts.

Now we think nothing about meeting people online and calling some of them friends. Close friends even.

But nothing replaces the in-person meeting.

While we were at the conference, we recorded several podcasts with old friends and new. We found the chemistry and the flow was much different than the three of us sitting in our own offices, recording with the technology of Google Hangouts and our Zoom recorders.

The same goes for a TweetUp.

You get to know people through their avatar. Some people do videos so you learn a little bit more about them. But, mostly, what we know about our online friends is conceived through 140 characters and photos.

We create a mental image, based on the information given to us and our own experiences, and sometimes that image is right on and other times it’s dead wrong.

The TweetUp allows us to put aside our perceptions and really get to know a person. We can read their body language. We can see the twinkle in their eye. We can understand the sarcasm. They can actually hear us LOL and know we mean it.

Three years ago, I attended the International Franchise Association conference and we hosted their first-ever TweetUp. Twenty people showed up.

At the PRSA TweetUp, 175 people attended. Not because of Inside PR and PRSA, but because people are beginning to understand the informal gatherings at large events is the only way you’re going to be able to see everyone you want to see.

Technology allows us to make friends with people we’d otherwise never meet. It flattens out the world. It broadens our reach. And it ensures a reason for meeting people from around the world while at the same conference.

So, the next time you attend a conference, either plan or attend a TweetUp. It’s a great way to kill many birds with one stone and put bodies with their avatars.

A portion of this first appeared on Examiner.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks,ย co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She alsoย is the lead blogger atย Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • martinwaxman

    I agree that one of the best things about social media is its ability to connect online and IRL and tweetups are a great example of that. We get to know a lot about a person by how they write and what they say. And because of that, we also know the little details about them so when we meet in person the relationship is continuing, not starting fresh. I’m also amazed by how well people have been able to make their personality come to live in their written voice. They don’t teach that in business writing 101.

    • ginidietrich

      @martinwaxman I had a fantastic creative writing professor in college. He taught that. But you’re right…most don’t teach it in school. You know what i loved most about our PRSA trip? Our podcasts were even more fun!

      • martinwaxman

        @ginidietrich They really were. I think creative writing courses should be included in business writing – so people can learn to find their voice. That takes practice. Social media sometimes reminds me of the 1800s – when people communicated by letters that were delivered throughout the day – except a tad faster-paced… And we should take IPR on the road more often!

        • @martinwaxman@ginidietrich Martin until I meet Gini she really is just a figment of my imagination right?

        • @HowieSPM@martinwaxman@ginidietrich Who is this Gini of which you speak?

        • @martinwaxman@ginidietrich Twitter is the epitome of creative writing. I’m thinking of the opening scene of “A River Runs Through It” when the Presbyterian preacher father, teaching his son to write, hands back the essay to the son saying: half again. This was the natural progression of Tweets following @HowieSPM smoke signals!

  • litbel

    Nice post Gini,

    4 years after Scott Monty coined the phrase tweetup (http://www.scottmonty.com/2007/03/be-ball-danny.html), its awesome that it’s still going strong and getting stronger!

    I am a strong beli

  • KristenDaukas

    And that is how the Broads Who Tweet came to be! We all had such rich on-line relationships that we wanted to move it to an “in person” relationship, too. As you well know, we’re packing up today to head to the hills for our 2nd weekend retreat where we will spend huge amounts of time on-line learning from each other but the true “fun” happens when we put down our laptops, iPads and smart phones and just hang out. It’s these opportunities to connect in real life that make our on-line life even more rewarding. We are all a constant resource for each other and all of us have been so rewarded with genuine friendships.

    • ginidietrich

      @KristenDaukas And you’ve also figured out how to bring in other broads who tweet via technology. I can’t wait!

      • rustyspeidel

        @ginidietrich@KristenDaukas Broads. Such a classic word. Love it.

  • litbel

    Nice post Gini,

    4 years after Scott Monty coined the phrase tweetup (http://www.scottmonty.com/2007/03/be-ball-danny.html), its awesome that it’s still going and getting stronger!

    I am a strong believer of IRL in particular the online to offline to online connection process. First establish a soft relationship online then strengthen the relationship offline then continue the relationship going online.

    This is particularly effective when connecting with people in niches.

    I look forward to learning more about your future experiences with tweetups!

    Tweetups vary from city to city but fortunately in Boston there are at least 2 / week sometime more!

    Thanks @AnneWeiskopf for connecting me to this post!

    • ginidietrich

      @litbel So funny – i learn something new every day! I didn’t know it was Scott who coined the term. Thanks for that tidbit!

      • @ginidietrich@litbel last time I mentioned Scott in a comment I realized I needed to re-read what I wrote before hitting Post Comment LOL

        But seriously the term goes back to it’s Latin Roots Tweetae Surpe which then reach the great plains of Asia and Ghengis Khan using smoke signals (early Twitter) Shortened to Tweeta Uppa. And then one day Scott was reading an ancient tome and he realized he could shorten it to Tweet Up.

        • @HowieSPM Only you could come up with that. @ginidietrich @litbel

  • ginidietrich

    @belllindsay LOL! It’s going to happen. Soon. Sometime after the first of the year.

    • jasonkonopinski

      @belllindsay I keep threatening @ginidietrich that I’m just going to show up in Chicago one day. I hear there’s some tweetup in December. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • belllindsay

        @jasonkonopinski @ginidietrich Well, if I can find a job I’m SO there! Never been to Chicago…! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • ginidietrich

    @kristendaukas And I get to talk to you tomorrow!

  • I prefer Twitter Rave Parties myself. But still haven’t found any. And sadly bassnectar stantonwarriors theglitchmob and _rd are now full on rockstars living in swank digs shunning those underground parties so many Tweeters hang out at. Unless of course you go to Burningman but that event is so last decade.

    But @ginidietrich I promise one day when we plan to hang out instead of sending SMS Texts like @Shonali and I did we can do it on the Twitter so as we don’t break any rules here.

    • @HowieSPM Have you met @ginidietrich IRL yet?

      • @Shonali@ginidietrich no I have not. I am scared to meet her. I heard she can be wicked mean in person.

        • @HowieSPM@Shonali@ginidietrich Anyone who plays Horse Hockey has got to be…

        • @HowieSPM@Shonali@ginidietrich@TheJackB Howie, scared is a good strategy. When bdorman264 and I met Gini, she opened her jacket and showed us the blogger scalps she keeps sown in the lining as trophies. Other than that, she was an absolute dream. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • @adamtoporek@HowieSPM@Shonali@ginidietrichbdorman264 Wait, am I to understand that Gini is a flasher?

        • @TheJackB@HowieSPM And @ginidietrich also has a magic wand which she waves NOT in your direction, if you’re not careful.

        • ginidietrich

          @TheJackB@adamtoporek That totally sounds like I’m a flasher.

        • ginidietrich

          @Shonali@TheJackB@HowieSPM Um, Shonali? That was supposed to be our secret.

        • @ginidietrich I’m not talking about *that* wand. I’m talking about the OTHER wand. And let’s not forget… well, that we definitely have to keep secret. @TheJackB @HowieSPM

  • rustyspeidel

    I totally, completely agree. In person is MUCH better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • ginidietrich

      @rustyspeidel Especially when I’m there!

  • annaosgoodby

    Love tweet-ups! RT @jenniferwindrum The Value of the TweetUp http://t.co/HD8utXba via @ginidietrich

  • we seriously need a Spin Sucks community TweetUp

    • @KenMueller Hell yes!

      • @KenMueller In Gini’s kitchen!

      • ginidietrich

        @Sean McGinnis@KenMueller My kitchen is too small. We’d have to rent a kitchen.

        • @ginidietrich@Sean McGinnis@KenMueller Soup kitchen.

    • @KenMueller I like that idea.

      • @Erin F. @KenMueller @seanmcginnis I can’t wait to start having Tweetups!

        • @Lisa Gerber@Erin@SeanMcGinnis Where? in Idaho? how many people in Idaho are on Twitter??

        • @KenMueller@Lisa Gerber@SeanMcGinnis Well, we can’t have it in El Paso. It’s a Twitter dead zone. What’s halfway between Texas and Pennsylvania? Maybe Missouri?

        • @Erin F.@KenMueller@Lisa Gerber@SeanMcGinnis Wrong direction. LA is the place. People are good and weather is great.

        • @TheJackB@KenMueller@Lisa Gerber@SeanMcGinnis I’m much closer to LA than some of these other folks. It’s a possible location.

  • danielnewmanUV

    Great post Gini – can we call them something other than a Tweet up though? Sounds so dorky. If we have a Spin Sucks Community Meet up I will attend. If it is a tweet up I’ll probably just laugh at it ;-D

    • @danielnewmanUV We can call it a “Suck Up!” hahahaha.

    • ginidietrich

      @danielnewmanUV I dare you to tell Scott Monty what you think of the name.

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  • kanemackay

    Thanks for posting! I added it our #bvilletweets FB page for our upcoming TweetUp.

  • kanemackay

    Thanks for posting! I added it to our #bvilletweets FB page for our upcoming TweetUp

    • ginidietrich

      @kanemackay Cool – thanks!

  • SamiAri

    I <3 TweetUps almost as much as I <3 Twitter. You already said it above so don’t really have much to add. It’s so wonderful to meet people and not be constrained with 140 characters and get to know them even more.

    And they say that online crowds are antisocial. RUBBISH!

    • ginidietrich

      @SamiAri Hiiiiii! Are you coming to our TweetUp on December 5??

      • SamiAri

        @ginidietrich Hiiiiii!!! I can’t because I’ll be at a Japanese dinner I’m hosting ๐Ÿ™ . But but but I do have a tweetup a week before if you’re free!

  • Wow, I feel like I have already seen Facebook question of the week today. Must be my imagination. Anyhoo, I am a big fan of Tweetups. I have had quite a good time meeting some of my cyber friends in real life.

    • ginidietrich

      @TheJackB You did…on @KenMueller blog.

  • ExtremelyAvg

    I’ve never been to a tweetup. I think I would quite like it. I really need to get out of my tiny bunker here in this tiny Iowa town.

    • @ExtremelyAvg I’m up on a mountainside and I haven’t made myself fit for human consumption in about a week. I don’t even know if I should admit this.

    • ginidietrich

      @ExtremelyAvg Yes, you do! Chicago is a nice little drive. You should come for our TweetUp on December 5.

  • WendyKier

    I’ve been ruining the Brighton UK Business Tweetup for the last year and I love it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • WendyKier

      LOL ….. running….

      • @WendyKier HAHA, I thought you were just being self-deprecating! LOL.

    • ginidietrich

      @WendyKier LOL! Ruining. That’s funny!!

  • This is so true Gini. Meeting people I’ve been tweeting with for years at conferences like PRSA is incredibly important. In fact, many of us have been talking about how it’s even MORE important to have in-person time today than it was before Twitter. I feel like I have a bond with many of my tweeps but once I meet them in person it’s exponentially stronger. And, I’ve found the tweet-ups where there is a lot of tweeting are not nearly as valuable as those like the one at PRSA where there was no tweeting, unless it was pictures of people you finally got to meet IRL.

    • ginidietrich

      @mdbarber The thing about social media is we’re meeting far more people now than we did without it. So, I agree, combining it with the in-person meeting is critical.

  • tweetupgirls

    @ryanthompson Hope you can fit us in tonight! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Ha, 175 people showed up because there was free food and drink. If you needed more I could have brought that many with me from Lakeland and they wouldn’t have even known what a tweet was….

    Actually, I attended a tweet up in my early social media days so knew what to expect. In most cases it’s an industry specific after hours cocktail party. Yes, real talking does occur….

    You’ll notice when you guys tried to lose me out by the pool area I actually made it to the party first. I was going to say I know a thing or two about free food and drink but obviously not since I spent my last dime at the lounge before we even went in. However, if I wouldn’t have had my social monitor with me I would have surely taken some of those extra tickets you had…………:).

    See, you might have had your doubts if I really was a dork or not but I actually got to prove it to you. Talk about spot on, huh?

    I have made some good friends online but I’m always up for a face to face, but I’m social like that….

    • @bdorman264 The twinkle you saw in my eye was Bill’s reflection. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • ginidietrich

      @bdorman264@adamtoporek WHAT?! I thought it was because we were there!

    • ginidietrich

      @bdorman264 I reached into my back pocket yesterday and pulled out six drink tickets. None of us used the free drinks that night.

  • FranchiseKing

    @sos_jr Thanks for the RT. I’ll just bet you know my friend, Jim Evans ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I still remember my first meet with online friends. That was back in 1989. Sadly, I don’t remember their names, but I remember them.

    1. A seeming demure librarian that did sex shows (performance art) and fanned Derrida

    2. A VP from a telecom that performed naked as a heavy metal vocalist on the weekends

    3. A millionaire transvestite that was the son of a major Bollywood director

    4. A housewife married to a GM executive that could recite Shakespeare and poetry from the American poet Anthony Hecht

    I was the only boring guy there. Just a college student that sang for his lattes on the weekends. Yeah, I had a partner in crime too. Me and a homeless guy, Brian. We did Cat Steven’s songs at a Venice Beach (Los Angeles) coffee shop called Van Gaugh’s Ear.

    • ginidietrich

      @Faryna That doesn’t sound so boring to me! What a great story. And, my, how things have changed!

      • @ginidietrich And wow have they changed!

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  • MatthewRideout

    I’d love to go to a TweetUp, but I live so far away from everyone interesting that I follow. Maybe they should all take a vaction to Maine to meet me :-p

    Actually I have met one of the people I follow on twitter, but I actually didn’t add her on twitter until after we met.

    • @MatthewRideout …or take a vacation in Texas! I live far away from most of the people I follow on Twitter, too.

      • @Erin F.@MatthewRideout I like the ‘Texas’ idea! What’s half-way b’tween el paso & austin?

        • @BethKSchmitz@MatthewRideout Maybe Abilene? I’d prefer Abilene to Midland/Odessa. If we have a tweetup in Abilene, I can go harass the professors at HSU. ๐Ÿ˜€ I wouldn’t mind getting back to Austin, though…

  • patmrhoads

    @mediatip Thanks for the RT!

  • One of the best things about social media is how we can use it to become acquainted online before we become friends in person. There’s so much at issue with this word “friend” isn’t there? In English we have a special differentiation for the stage before friendship – but it’s so awkward to refer to that online, and there’s no shorthand for the terminology of getting acquainted with someone. And yet it’s funny that in other cultures, there’s no marker for this stage of friendship – either you’re friends, close friends or not friends.

    There’s no replacement for in-person contact, whatever we call it. There’s even some research being done on whether we leave microscopic traces with each other after parting – maybe this is why the handshake means so much.

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