This week, I explore my experience with Tweetups in preparation for our Pt. Pleasant Tweetup this Saturday, March 27, 2010 at Rockn’ Joe’s in Point Pleasant Beach. Featuring Kindred Soulmen, this tweetup is also a fundraiser for Passionworks in Brick, NJ.
Urban Dictionary, that bastion of virtual definitions, states that tweetups are
A gathering of nerds attempting social contact, likely for the first time. Usually disintegrates into everyone running to the nearest computer to type to one another.
Now, I’m proud to be called “nerd”, and trust me, my classroom is the mecca of high school nerddom, but I wonder, don’t we all have smart phones … and is a tweetup really that nerdy?
To answer the latter question, I’ll explore my own experiences with tweetups & nametags with a nod to a marketing genius:
LIKE A VIRGIN: The first tweetup I attended took place on September 3, 2009 at Basil T’s in Red Bank. @currycolleen and I got this going in a very informal way, and @hellopresto hooked us up with the venue. Approximately 15 twitter users showed up for a glass of free beer and (more than likely) to meet the people in real life that we met on Twitter to ensure we weren’t talking to, well, nerds with no social life. I’d already met @EatontownBB at this point (the rock star of the Jersey Shore twitter culture), but had yet to experience the energy of @shoreflicks, the PR knowledge of @LKCoach, and the photographic genius of @navesink. Below is a pic taken by @navesink that night:
Lesson Learned: Meeting Twitter “friends” in real life is the next step in social networking. However, a bar is not the optimal place for this type of event. Space is limited, volume is loud.
Nametags: Used. According to @currycolleen, “Definitely nametags! 1st of all, it’s fun to recognize names. 2nd of all, if I’m drinking, I’ve already forgotten your name.” @shoreflicks agreed.
Nerd Rating: A+
EXPRESS YOURSELF: I spent most of October gearing up for my own Tweetup I called AsburyPop. Part Ignite presentation, part Tweetup, part Pop Culture mash-up, the turnout at AsburyPop far exceeded my expectations. Almost 100 people filled Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, NJ to listen to 8 active twitterers present their take on this social media platform. @LangostaLounge donated an exquisite buffet, @MontageMM provided the perfect screen & projector, and that Twitter superhero @EatontownBB came through again with a sound system. An awesome time was had by all!
Lesson Learned: People like to sit. The gallery’s show that weekend included pieces in the middle of the space so chairs were not an option. I thought standing encouraged mingling, and people could always sit on the floor…I was wrong. Also, 8 speakers are definitely overkill. This year’s event will be less formal speaking, more networking and showing off all the Art Bloc of Asbury Park has to offer!
Name Tags: Not used. I am not a fan. However, attendees did ask my intern (ahem, daughter) for nametags as she checked them in. Hence, the nametag poll.
Nerd Rating: B- (it was in an art gallery, so the location’s cool factor counteracted the nerd factor!)
BEAUTIFUL STRANGER: The winter of 2009-2010 was brutal and took it’s toll on many a tweetup. As events fell like dominos to our snow overlords, I wondered if I would ever get a chance to meet twitterers like @cortland and @innovationsIP in real life. VoxPopNJ hosted two social media workshops @theShowroomAP in January and February and attracted a great group of people including a few diehard filmmakers from Philadelphia! However, trapped at command central (aka, my desk complete with iMac, MacBook & Netbook not to mention cell phone) and making new connections on Twitter, I wondered if I’d ever make it to another Tweetup to answer once and for all the question, “To nametag or not to nametag?”
A chance to answer that question once and for all came during the last battle with the snow orcs. I posted a twtpoll asking where VoxPopNJ should hold it’s next event. What a contest between Long Branch and Pt. Pleasant Beach! While the final count was very close, the Twitter community in PPB lead by @RocknJoePPB was the most vocal and willing to get the tweetup going. I asked @KindredSoulmen on a whim if they were available to play because I spent quite a bit of snowbound time listening to their new EP, and they said yes! @RocknJoePPB agreed to host, @funkychunks – one of AsburyPop’s first supporters and the BEST friend I’ve made on twitter – donated a $50 gift basket to our raffle to support @Passionworks. @JoshFeinberg & the Blue Claws donated 4 tickets, and @InnovationsIP promptly offered 30 hats with custom stitched logo!
In less than a week, the Point Pleasant Beach Tweetup was on!
Lesson Learned: If you offer to host a tweetup, they will come. You know you want to! So register and we’ll have your nametag waiting for you!
Name Tags: Giving it a go. As @aceinspace, a presenter at AsburyPop commented, “If yr gonna go nerdy, might as well go all the way i say”.
Nerd Rating: TBD in next week’s post!
…and if you REALLY want to get your nerd on, here are two more tweetups hosted by friends of VoxPopNJ:
(1) South Jersey Networking Night
Date: Thursday, April 15
Time: 6 pm
Place: Medford Community Center, 21 South Main Street, Medford
Meet and mingle with South Jersey professionals and business owners. This event — hosted by the Relay for Life of Medford — includes raffles, light refreshments and more! There is no cost for attendance, but donations are encouraged.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.