July 25 was one for the history books when 10 people flew into Chicago for #epicmeetup. We met at Rockit in Wrigleyville and about 50 people ended up coming by at some point. Today’s #FollowFriday recommendations are for those who came from far to meet in real life!

Next week’s recommendations will be those who came from near to meet IRL!

@DebCE Deb is not only a client, she’s a friend. When I first met her, before we had the COMPUTER EXPLORERS business, we hit it off instantly. She’s inquisitive, extremely likeable, and direct. I love the directness about her because there is no BS and you always know where you stand. She’s very motivated to learn and propel her franchisees to a new level…a true leader who has that instinctive skill.

@JoanKuzCE Joan is a fairly new COMPUTER EXPLORERS franchisee, but because she’s in the Chicagoland area, we see her quite often. She just won Rookie of the Year and is one of the nicest and sincere people I know. She watches and listens quite a bit and then when she adds to the conversation, you’d better be on your toes because what she says is something you’ve not considered.

@justinthesouth I officially “met” Justin on Twitter in February and he’s quickly become one of my closest friends. Meeting him IRL just solidified our friendship because he is as genuine in person as he is on Twitter. He is probably the most self-less person I know and is always considering other people’s feelings before his own.

@jeffmello I can’t give a follow recommendation about Jeff without telling you that when he arrived at my house on Saturday morning, he’d had coffee AND a Full Throttle. I had no idea people could talk that fast! We learned a lot about Jeff IRL, including his wife @rachelmello is the coolest and he’s in radio sales (had no idea about that!). He also was able to gain some new fans for BuzzCal and we discussed ways to monetize it. So subscribe to the service and help us help him make money at it!

@rachelmello My favorite picture in my head of Rachel is her carrying a tray of pineapple shot thingys around the bar, as if she worked there. She fit right in to our crazy group, as if she’d been talking to all of us on Twitter all year.

@adriandayton This was the second time I’d met Adrian IRL and he’s a young man going places. My favorite quote of the entire weekend was when he met @jeffmello and said, “You’re shorter than I expected!” Which is really funny because Jeff’s avatar is just his face so the fact that he had a vision in his head about how tall he’d be is a testament to how relationships are built on the social networks.

@julito77 I don’t even know where to begin with Julio. He is every bit of his Twitter personality and more. A few people, after meeting him, have said to me, “I have a crush on Julio.” And that includes man crushes! He got to the party and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Have you seen @adriandayton? He’s a hottie!” And that set the tone for the entire day when Julio was around. But the very best part is that he left his really nice, expensive camera in the back of a Chicago cab because he was busy talking to the cabbie about Somalia. So all of our photos from the day are…gone.

@melaniegreen I’ve met Melanie IRL a few times and was really disappointed when she said she wasn’t going to be able to make the drive in from Indianapolis for the party. But about an hour into the event, in she walked!  It was such a fun surprise! Melanie is one of the most down-to-earth people I know. She’s smart, she’s wise, and she’s full of knowledge and sass.

@SarahRobinson Sarah was one of the first people I followed on Twitter and she has since become a very dear friend and my co-hooligan in Global Domination. She does some amazing work, including her new mantra of escaping mediocrity. I have this quote taped to my wall “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss, but that it’s too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo. That reminds me of Sarah and her very being.

@griner I first met David on Twitter when I told the world we were going to try an internal email ban. He suggested I blog about it…and I did. And then he blogged about it on AdFreak. Since then, we’ve learned we have several friends in common (from his days at Mizzou and my friends who all happen to have gone there) and he happened to be in town for BlogHer so he stopped by. He’s as cool and sauve as his avatar suggests!

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.

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