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Tweetups – Not As Pointless As You Might Think

by James Ball on December 7, 2009

tweetup-pic

UrbanDictionary.com defines a Tweetup as: “An organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter”.  A good definition, but it doesn’t say quite enough…fixing that here today!

I received an invitation to a “Punk Rock” Tweetup last night, and I can’t wait to attend! I’m not a huge punk rock fan, but I am a huge fan of Tweetups. If you think that Tweetups are a silly and pointless waste of time, it’s likely that you’ve never attended one, and I can certainly understand this point of view. From the outside looking in, Tweetups are easy to dismiss.

We (my company) organized The North Georgia Tweetup not too long ago. We didn’t know exactly what to expect from the event beforehand, but I’d like to point out a few personal takeaways that might help you to understand how great an event like this can be. In no particular order:

  • A much larger audience now has a better understanding of my company and what we stand for. Meeting our website online has never been able to convey this in a satisfactory way. Those that I met in person at the Tweetup are more helpful, and seem to get behind me and help to carry the things that I need to have known. They have become a part of my community and all that this entails. These have become more than mere online “friends” after the Tweetup. I effectively reach a wider audience now because of this.
  • Mike Lorey sat at my table during dinner after the event. It was a great opportunity to learn a lot about Mike, his company, and his talents. I learned that Mike has skills with WordPress, which is what runs this blog. In meeting, we were able to solidify a nice partnership. This blog would not exist in its present form without Mike’s skillful help and advice.
  • Taryn Pisaneschi and I were connected online before the event, and I asked her to speak at the Tweetup. Until the event, I had no real understanding of her depth and abilities. I now call Taryn a friend, and she is instrumental to me as a person who shares many of my interests.
  • There are many more people that I could mention here, but only list a few in the interest of space. There has been more interaction since the Tweetup with almost all of the people that I met personally. All of the relationships and situations that have come from the Tweetup have been good for my business in one way or another.
  • I’ve received a job offer or two from people I met at the Tweetup.
  • Almost everyone that I met at the Tweetup has been kind to me in some way since the event, meeting people in person just has a way of deepening a connection. Online interactions are great, but can’t substitute for a handshake and a nice face-to-face conversation. Meeting in person has added reciprocal value in many of my online connections.
  • My business has received inquires that are a direct result of a personal interaction at the Tweetup.
  • My connections on LinkedIn have grown. Meeting people in person has helped me to identify those that I may want to have a deeper connection with. I have become more connected in a space where I am able to grow my own presence, and I have gained knowledge about the business community that I belong to. Tweetups, conferences, local lunch-and-learn events, and seminars have all been most helpful with this. Many in the LinkedIn community are not likely to accept an invitation to connect without having had a prior personal meeting of some sort.
  • It’s easier for me to ask for, and receive help online. The Tweetup allowed me to interact for a few hours with many people that I only knew previously as an avatar and 140 characters at a time. People that I meet ReTweet me more often. People that I meet in person are also 110% more likely to vouch for me and my mission than those I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting.
  • I’ve been asked to speak, attend, or otherwise facilitate future events by those who attended the Tweetup.
  • Our Tweetup opened up some doors and introduced me to many that I see on the guest list for the upcoming event that I mentioned. The opportunity now exists to deepen some great potential business relationships. The first meeting now makes the second one much more comfortable.
  • I have been introduced to new people and have received requests for proposals through a few people that were in attendance at the Tweetup.

Social media is networking, lived out online, and amplified. Online activity has a certain dynamic and some pretty specific boundaries. If you want to change the dynamics of your networking efforts, I encourage you to take it offline, attend a Tweetup!

Has attending a Tweetup helped you in some way? Tell me what happened and how it’s turned out! If you’ve never attended a Tweetup and have questions, feel free to ask in the comments, I will gladly reply with an answer.

@WholeMind December 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for the mention! Social Media is a great way to make new connections but it just will never be able to replace the deep interactions available in an offline, face-to-face meeting. Tweetups allow you to deepen your online relationships and meet many other like-minded individuals that you might have dismissed for whatever reason online.

Like you, I am not able to attend all Tweetups (or even a lot) since there are SO many and most are in Atlanta. I am sure there are many others in the same boat. This post will hopefully get a few more people out to attend an event or two even if it is a bit of a drive.

Social Media and Tweetups/Meetups have profoundly changed my life the past few years. I had never been a fan of traditional networking functions but knowing someone at least a little before meeting makes the first face-to-face interactions so much more valuable. My company wouldn't have existed without all the kind encouragement from people I have met at Tweetups.

James Ball December 7, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Thank you for this insight and testimonial Mike! I agree that social media is a powerful means for connection building. What I see happening though, is that many build an immense network based solely online, and never make the effort to take their eyes from a screen and get to an actual event. As often as I tell my friends to be constantly listening for new opportunities to connect online, I also point out that these connections are often representative of a real-life door opened. I encourage that the question be asked of oneself as connections are made: “Is this an opportunity to sit down with someone and have an actual meeting?”

James Ball December 7, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I can only speak from personal experience here, but I don’t think that I’m alone in relating that a real impact that social media has had on business are often the result of the real-life meetings and connections that are generated from an initial contact via social media channels. I’ve never been hired directly through Twitter or Facebook for example, but I have made some connections there that have resulted in meetings that ultimately generate revenue. These meetings don’t happen by themselves either. More often than not, it is I who must instigate a deeper connection…I send emails and make phone calls… waiting on social media to call me hasn’t produced many good results! Social media opens tangible doors that beg being walked through!

Randy Barnes December 7, 2009 at 6:52 pm

TweetUps pointless? No way! Those of us that have contracted the H1fun1 tweet-flu in 2009 are first to "AMen" this one. The events I've attended this year, all worthwhile, ranged from tiny and quiet to the Call-911 event that #punkATL is sure to be.

Those of you waiting to see, and thinking that there's no real point in tweeting, are herein invited to wake up and smell the hashbrowns, scattered covered and smothered. There are like-minded people out there IRL that are waiting for an opportunity to offer their advice, help, point of view or just a bad joke. I've had several of my digital hangnails trimmed by the awesome individuals I've crossed paths with this year. [yuck]

As for N Ga – we here "in town" are looking forward to another reason to head for the hills, so plan something great for us in 2010!

Hope 2cu soon.

James Ball December 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Thank you for commenting Randy. You may be the biggest Tweetup fan I know! I'll see you on the 16th, I know you'll be there and filming.
*We're talking about something up here again soon Randy. I'll make it known when we decide!

James Ball December 8, 2009 at 2:35 am

Randy, I replied to this earlier, and my own blog has somehow eaten my own post! I said thank you, and you are a swell guy…and some other stuff. I do appreciate you stopping in!

Doug Lehman December 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm

James your post is spot on. I just started attending Tweetups a few months ago. Using social media tools to connect and have a platform for face-to-face meetings creates such an added value. I have made numerous new and valuable contacts. Atlanta Tweetups continue to provide great support for me during my career transition process. I would say tweetups have been one of the most positive venues for me in 2009…

I hope to see you at the next Atlanta tweetup. Keep up the great work.

Doug

@douglehman
http://www.douglehman.com

James Ball December 7, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Wow, thank you Doug. It sounds like you've enjoyed some great results from attending tweetups! I appreciate you sharing this here. If you are planning on attending the tweetup on the 16th, seek me out… I'd love to hear more!

@DennisLLynn December 8, 2009 at 2:18 am

Fantastic article. I agree 100% that Tweet-ups can make a significant impact on those who attend. Even our small events here in Hall County have done just that. I was out of town the weekend of the North Georgia Tweet Up or I would have been right there.

James Ball December 8, 2009 at 2:26 am

Hello Dennis. Thank you for your comment. I'm glad to know you're a fan of tweetups…this means I'll see you somewhere soon!

Randall P. Whatley December 8, 2009 at 2:36 am

Thank you for writing such an excellent article about Tweetups. I have actually been looking for an article like this so I can retweet it to my followers ( @CypressMedia ). I hope to attend one the your tweetups in North Georgia soon so we can meet in person. That's what I find most valuable about Tweetups – the opportunity to make face to face connections with people with whom we have only virtual relationships through Twitter. Tweetups, like phone calls, give us the opportunity to cement relationships with people we just read about 140 characters at a time.

James Ball December 8, 2009 at 2:54 am

I'm glad you found something useful here today Randall. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here. I look forward to meeting you soon!

@thechrisjordan December 8, 2009 at 3:18 am

Whoever thinks "tweetups" are pointless doesn't GET traditional business networking. Any extension of the online network just enhances the real face to face meeting. Think back before Social Media as we know it now. We'd go blindly to a Chamber of Commerce meeting and have to attend for like two years before we'd get noticed. Now the people know us before we even meet once. Which makes me wonder… what is the future of the "Chamber of Commerce" for business networking? Great post as always, James. I wish I just had more time to attend more tweetups! THOUGH, because of Social Media, business is on and crackin' so maybe next year my wife can give me some daytime relief.

James Ball December 8, 2009 at 3:46 am

It's interesting that you bring up the Chamber of Commerce. In small towns, such as here in the Ellijay and Blue Ridge area, the Chamber has always been the strongest, if not the only networking opportunity for many. As social networking channels become more popular, one would think that the Chamber of Commerce would be among the early adopters. I don't see this happening, and I wonder about the future for the Chamber. I will point out that I do see many of them offering classes on social media…good to see this progress! Thank you for your comment Chris!

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