internet social networks into first-world social networks
i am very fortunate to be in portland during 2008. in the spring, something clicked. internet social networks were translating into real-world social networks on a large scale for the first time. i attribute this phenomenon to two services: upcoming.org and twitter.com.
it was upcoming.org that brought me to my first web innovators meeting where i met some of the portland techies that do a lot of these kinds of meetings. by 'do' i mean organize as well as attend. i quickly learned that twitter was an important communication tool for these people. i dusted off my 1-year old account and started following some people. that was great but then i learned to set twitter to not hide messages from people i know to people i dont know. then i learned a habit - to actively investigate these friends of friends and build up my list of people i follow.
it was at an OReilly conference in the portland convention center where i first met someone in real life that I found interesting on twitter. i didnt even know we were in the same building but the person tweeted about being outside the conference rooms on the second floor. i was just downstairs. i walked up and having never met before, the person knew immediately who i was based on what i looked like from my twitter profile photo, knew that i mostly likey wanted to meet, and knew something about my interests and lifestyle. this has happened numerous times since, because there is huge overlap between people who use twitter and who attend the local tech events.
its still an amazing feeling. its not much work, you're reading their tweets anyways because its interesting for some reason. the tweets can reveal much about that person's interests and lifestyle. when you meet in person you have both leapfroged past all the where do you live, how do you know so and so, and land in 'hey is your five year old over that cold?' 'how was the kayaking trip last month?' and 'your tweet saying such-and-such was so funny! i just laughed'.