Tweetups are in-person meetings of people who know each other via Twitter. Often held in a casual, social setting such as a coffee shop or happy hour, tweetups are a great way to meet new people in your area, build relationships and communicate without being limited to 140 characters.
Tweetups in action
In preparation of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs the NHL organized fan tweetups in 24 cities in the U.S. and Canada. The league promoted via Twitter the very first tweetup in New York City, and hockey fans responded instantly, requesting that other cities to be added. As a result, 24 NHL organized tweetups took place on the same day in different cities. It was a great shared experience for participants and terrific PR for the NHL and the sport of hockey.
Many local organizations are also having success keep their talkers engaged with regularly scheduled tweetups. Four self-described “twitter addicts” in a group of social media buffs in Mid-Michigan @MidMichTweetUp, for example, started monthly local tweetups in June 2008, and their group now has nearly 300 active participants.
Interested in making local connections for your brand? Check out Mashable’s dos and don’ts: “How to: Organize a Successful Tweetup.”
In related news, traditional gatherings like conferences, seminars and information sessions are being transformed by Twitter.
In meetings we’ve attended recently we’ve noticed “people formerly known as the audience” tweeting questions and commentary during presentations. Attendees use hashtags (#) to identify their tweets and link them to the session. That way, everyone searching Twitter search by hashtag for that event or session will see relevant comments and questions.
The most technologically adept and flexible presenters weave audience feedback into their delivery. They seamlessly respond to questions without having to wait for people raise hands or step up to the mic. It’s pretty slick.
Other benefits of events tweeted by hashtag are longevity and reach. People who aren’t able to attend can follow in real time or come back to Twitter search later to find all the information in one place. Questions and commentary can also come from off-site participants.
A word of caution
While Twitter generally enhances and extends event conversation, it has also been known to backfire — sometimes in a very public way. Infamously, during keynote at a 2008 South by Southwest Interactive festival keynote, the audience ranted via Twitter about how bad they thought the interview of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg by journalist Sarah Lacy was going. In this way, the audience managed a Twitter takeover of the interview.
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