OK, first up. A Tweetup is a meeting between people with the who, where and when arranged on Twitter.
Sounds simple. But a key ingredient, to differentiate it from a mere meeting, is that the people concerned should only be acquainted online.
The Tweetup is when the digital turns into face-to-face, 140 characters into a meaningful conversation, a recognisable position on a blog into an ability to listen .
Who came to this Tweetup then?
George is digital director for a UK regional newspaper company . Ben is an American doing postgraduate journalism in London.
They are part of the small community I follow on Twitter. I rely on George and Ben to keep me up to speed on issues concerning UK and US newspapers. And they both follow me.
Our exchange of ideas and any familiarity comes exclusively through Twitter.
What does a Tweetup feel like?
- I’ve spent two decades interviewing people I did not know as a reporter. I still felt a little nervous going through the cafe door. What if I had nothing to say?
- Both were deep in conversation when I arrived. I joined in immediately. We already know each other’s background so there was no need for cocktail party-style questions about “what do you do?”
- The conversation stuck rigidly to the newspaper business.
- But I have a problem in this environment. It is my digital footprint.
- My primary community are my colleagues at work (magazines AND exhibitions, sales AND marketing, editorial AND digital). My blog has something for all of those.
- But for my secondary community, the wider world of social/new media, it must come across as a very unfocused blog – neither exclusively new media or social media, neither exclusively content or maketing. How clearly my lack of focus comes across to me when talking to George and Ben.
- They might be interested in the impact of new media on newspapers and journalism. But social media itself to develop communities? Not so much as me. Social media marketing to increase visitor attendance to exhibitions? Not at all.
- Ironically it is a face-to-face experience that underlines the unfocused nature of my digital activity compared to others. Or to put it another way, what a width of topics I need to cover to do my job compared to others.
How will Tweetups develop?
As we grow online communities, we will cultivate networking between those who know each other and those who don’t. Actually, that’s one of the main points of social media – to get people out of their silos.
We just need to make sure people communicate only with those they are interested in. Down to the very last detail.
We need to understand exactly of which community they belong.
No New Year greetings.
Just straight to business.