The Serendipity of Twitter

May 9, 2012

It can be difficult to explain the magic of Twitter, which is why I like to provide anecdotal evidence whenever I can. And last night was a perfect example.

I was at D.C.’s monthly WordPress Meetup, checking in on Foursquare. I tagged my check-in with the event hashtag, #wpdc, and posted it to Twitter.

Twitter magic

Twitter makes magic happen. Really.

If I’m confusing you with digital speak, let me take a quick minute to explain:

  • Hashtags are a Twitter tool for grouping tweets. If you add a hashtag to a word, it makes it easily findable for others who are searching for tweets on that topic.
  • Meetup is an awesome website that helps you meet new people with similar interests.
  • Foursquare is a geolocation mobile app that lets you “check in” at certain places (like restaurants and events), so you can see who else is there.

Since I hashed my check-in on Twitter, anyone who was following #wdpc — mainly people who were at the event or wished they were at the event — could see my tweet. That’s the whole point; by making my tweet easy to find, I could then interact with people at the meetup, during the presentation, without communicating out loud.

Within minutes, I received an unexpected @reply from someone at the event. He was a long-time reader of my newsletter, he said, and was hoping we could meet in person.

Several tweets later, we realized he was sitting right behind me.

We chatted for quite a while after the meetup. I left there with a grin on my face, and not just because he said The Traveling Writer Newsletter inspired him. I grinned thinking about serendipity. Without Twitter, I could’ve been in the same room as one of my newsletter readers and not even known it.

But because we both took advantage of this digital tool, we got to experience a face-to-face interaction. Pretty cool, right? The best online connections are the ones we bring offline.

If you’re not using Twitter strategically, who might you miss out on meeting? What if the person who could help you find your next job or land your first book deal or create the life you want to live is in the same room as you, and you don’t even know it?

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    12 Replies to “The Serendipity of Twitter”

    • Angela says:

      I’m a huge fan of Twitter. I still hang out on Facebook, but more to stay in touch with my friends than anything else. I like Twitter because it forces one to be succinct. It’s also a great place to network, albeit inadvertently at times. Case in point your hooking up with the guy at the #wdpc meet-up. 😉

    • Ryan says:

      This is great. I always hear about how Twitter can help grow your blog/career/audience, but this example shows how you can miss out on a connection that’s right under your nose.

    • Miss Sassy says:

      I have learnt heaps about Twitter thanks to you Alexis. I am getting the hang of it so much more and I highly recommend the #MYOL course you have. I probably still need to think about it more strategically like you mentioned in your post as this is a really great example. I also agree with Angela in that it forces you to be succinct. Brevity is the key here.

    • Peggy Frezon says:

      That is so cool! What a great story, Lexi. So many people still think that twitter is just a way to tell people about every boring detail in our daily lives. I keep telling them that’s not true. Now I can show them this post instead!

      btw, I noticed on some TV shows they are superimposing hashtags at various points during the episode, trying to get some Twitter conversations going.

      • Alexis Grant says:

        I’ve seen that on TV shows! Great way to prompt conversation.

        I love how you say that people think Twitter is a way to “tell people about every boring detail in our daily lives” — That is SO the misconception! We know better 🙂 You are a perfect example of someone who’s using it well!

    • Ryan Emge says:

      Hi Alexis!

      It was great finally getting to a chance to meet with you last night at the WordPress DC event #wpdc!

      Your inspiration continues here, and true to my word, I promised to no longer be a lurker, but an engaged member of your audience. In fact, this might be a good time for me to start blogging on my own!

      Thanks again Alexis for connecting the dots, not leaving it up to chance, but allowing social media to bring us together.


    • Nancy Petralia says:

      I haven’t tried Twitter yet so I especially appreciate your explanation of the terms I hear everyone bantering around. You’ve inspired me to think about how I can use it strategically. Thanks too, Angela for the “succinct” comment. We all need to do more of that.

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