The shame of saying ‘we met via Twitter’
comment 4 Written by on January 14, 2010 – 2:18 pm

Taking Twitter into the real world: Video from CollegeHumor.

Some weeks ago I went to a party, which I was invited to via someone on Twitter. It was a Tweetsgiving event (an organisation which, if you get beyond the cringey name, is doing great work raising finds for schools in Tanzania). I was invited by someone I had exchanged a few messages with and who seemed like a friendly person with an interesting way of life.  On top of all that, the venue was a very short walk from my house and I was meeting other friends (from “the real world”) afterwards. Clearly, I had nothing to lose by swinging by.

So I popped by and enjoyed a a glass of wine and some nice chats. The host was as sweet as I’d imagined and I also enjoyed meeting a Paraguayan for the first time ever (how have I spent so much time in South America and never met a Paraguayan?) and I had a good chat with him about place to go on my impending trip. However, at one point in the evening, amid a mix of Twitter users and non-Twitter users, it struck me that to say ‘We met via Twitter’ to those who don’t use it creates an automatic assumption that you’re a geek with no life and no friends in the real world. It was illustrated at one point by a guy who said in a slightly superior tone: “Oh, I don’t have time for that”.

Yep, it’s that common myth again: that people spend hours on Twitter talking about their lunch. I’m busy, but I’m not *so* busy that I can’t knock out the occasional sentence. And when I’m researching an article, finding case studies or keeping up with travel news, Twitter can *save* me time. Recently I put at a shout for good South Africa blogs and got a wealth of good replies, which was better than cluelessly wading through hundreds of possibilities on Google.

Anyway, we’ve been here before. It doesn’t need justifying.

Back at the party, another odd situation came about when I *recognised* someone from Twitter. I’d been following him and I recognised his name. It’s a very weird opening gambit in a party when straight after an introduction you say, “Ah yes, I’ve been following you”. I think I freaked him out for a moment, but really it’s no different to saying “Ah, I’ve read your blog”. Or is it? The word “follower” is the main problem, because it screams “stalker”, even if you’ve put yourself up there to be followed.

There was a time when I was constantly writing for the Guardian Travel about people I’d met online. At one point, I even went on holiday with people I met online and I joked with an editor that’d start to get the reputation as the girl with no real friends.

However, the most actively social network uses I know are not typically doing it because no one gives them the time of day in the real world. They tend to be very social people.

Social people using social networking – well, who would have thought it?

The girls I went to Barcelona last year (which led to a Guardian piece) may have originally got their introduction via CitySocialising, but they clicked from the first time they met, continued to socialise together and became the best of friends. A year or so down the line, is that friendship any less valid? Of course, it’s not. The same goes for online dating.

But back to the here and now and Twitter – would you tell someone you read their Tweets if you meet them for the first time? Have you build good friends with people you originally met online? Do you think there’s still a taboo?

Also – check out the above comedy sketch that takes the Twitter premise into the real world.

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4 Responses to “The shame of saying ‘we met via Twitter’”

  1. Hysterical. My my how the online world has evolved.

  2. I think most people have accepted that the Internet is a viable option for meeting people, although Twitter still feels like unknown territory to many. While there may be more of a stigma attached to Twitter, once the service gains more acceptance by mainstream society, that stigma will eventually fall away, just as it did for chatrooms, blogs, etc.

  3. Haha

    This is great. Had to share it on Facebook/Twitter (of course). We are getting lots of people meeting up through Twitter up here and coming to our networking nights.

    It’s funny, especially when they start networking offline with people who have no idea what Twitter is!

    Thanks for sharing

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