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.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich