“I know them from Twitter.”
I’m finding myself saying this more and more often these days. Twitter for me has become much more than just a source of information on the topics I’m most interested in. It has become a tool for creating new & meaningful relationships with people who have similar interests as me – especially locally. I now think of it as a steroid-infused-hyper-networking tool.
Let me tell you a story of virtual hitch-hiking or electronic carpooling complete with digital thumbs. One where otherwise complete strangers collaborate to schedule a carpool together to attend a marketing conference in a far away city.
To anyone not on twitter, this concept sounds completely ridiculous and unbelievable. Some may even be intimidated by it. You’re very likely to hear, “You’re doing what?” and “What do you mean you haven’t met these people?” from your close friends and family.
Today, I was lucky enough to take part in just such an activity. Besides being an incredible Insurance and Technology hub and a great incubator of up and coming business and engineering minds, Waterloo Region boasts an extremely robust and well connected community that leverages each other’s strengths both online and offline.
Twitter helps to accelerate this.
I learned of a Marketing event called, “Marketing Exposed” that featured Scott Stratten from Unmarketing and Corey Vidal – a YouTube superstar, through Julia Rosien. Besides being very well connected in the KW community, Julia is very much in the know when it comes to SEO strategies and Social Media events. Scott Stratten is a sought after speaker and evangelist for social media (talking) and I’ve been looking forward to having a chance to hear him speak for some time now. After registering for the event, I thanked Julia for sharing the link and she mentioned there were a few others from KW attending and that we should carpool. So we did. Meet @ladycarni and @DanPolischuk.*
And so, these complete strangers who had no prior relationship other than being connected to one another on twitter, met bright & early and carpooled together to Oakville for the morning. As a result, my perception of carpooling with people I’ve never met in my life went from this:
The point is that Twitter is a great source for information. What makes it awesome is the conversations you have with people within your network and the relationships that develop as a result of these connections and conversations.
*Due to an alarm clock malfunction, I ended up missing the morning departure time and location. In spite of this, I was able to connect with them in person during the speaker intermissions and breaks at the conference.