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Gini Dietrich

The Value of the TweetUp

By: Gini Dietrich | November 10, 2011 | 
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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  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, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

73 comments
Tinu
Tinu

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.

MatthewRideout
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.

Faryna
Faryna

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.

bdorman264
bdorman264

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....

mdbarber
mdbarber

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.

TheTweepleQueen
TheTweepleQueen

I've been ruining the Brighton UK Business Tweetup for the last year and I love it :-)

Latest blog post: Guest Blogs

TheJackB
TheJackB

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.

Latest blog post: A Letter To The Universe

kanemackay
kanemackay

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

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel

I totally, completely agree. In person is MUCH better. ;)

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

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.

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@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.

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  3. […] The Value of the TweetUp originally appeared on Spin Sucks on November 10, 2011. […]