On Friday night I went to my first ever Tweetup.
I’ll be honest and tell you I had to shake off a few butterflies as I stepped out of the internet waters and built a bridge into real life, but I’m very glad I did it. It felt like an important step for me personally and professionally.
I’ve been using Twitter for about a year and have built a seriously amazing network of folks. My tribe is a mixed group of birth junkies, social media geeks, uber cool moms, environmentalists, holistic health tweeps, hopeless romantics, rabble rousers and general do-gooders.
Why read the newspaper when I can interpret the news from real live people and their perceptions rather than the mostly corporate owned media we’re inundated by today? I can honestly say that I’ve stayed up to date with current events via the Twitterverse (and the blogosphere!) all without newspaper subscriptions or cable television. It’s just me and 6 million folks linking the world together one tweet at a time.
In a few painstakingly characters (only 140 to be exact) I can get tech help for my web projects, find out remedies for any ailments, or be inspired for dinner. You ask a question and within minutes you have suggested links to all over the web. Twitter has been a mind-expanding, life altering experience all together.
Okay, enough Twitter gushing– about six months ago I started networking more locally on Twitter due to my volunteer work with my local BirthNet and our FreeOurMidwives project. As a result I’ve hooked into a more local tweeting scene which led to my invitation to Ithaca’s first tweetup. I convinced a friend (@birthwaysdoulas) to come with me so I didn’t have to fly solo and it turned out to be an a well needed Friday night out of the house.
I should have brought Stone and the kids, but I wanted to dip my toes in the water solo and check things out. (And besides bringing koala anywhere public or nice at this point is usually more work than fun.) It was a family friendly event and very encouraging to see community building in the works. I’ve heard the complaint that modern technology cuts us off from the real world, but I’ve actually found the opposite to be true.
At a recent social media class I took for small businesses and organizations the teacher shared his vision of technology as being neutral and I found myself nodding with enthusiastic agreement. Technology is, what it is, and it is up to us to interpret and use it to meet our desires and needs. You can take what you value and use modern media and technology to enhance it.
It’s what I’ve spent my past year doing with this blog, my Twitter community and my professional undercover project. My learning curve has hit warp speed and as long as I continue to seek balance and return to center I’m glad for the expansion. It’s exciting and exhilarating and yes, sometimes overwhelming. But then feeling overwhelmed is the perfect note to self that it’s time to unplug and ground in some real life interaction.
I’d love to know many of you are you on Twitter? Leave your username in the comments so we can connect and tell me about your experience with social media thus far. How does it enhance your life? What about it challenges you? I find it all very fascinating.
(Dang I wish I had taken my camera to the tweetup. It was a gorgeous venue and a wake-up call that I haven’t been taking enough pictures lately. I made up for it the rest of the weekend and can’t wait to share.)