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12 March 2009

The NYC Tweetup – Are We Less Comfortable in Person than Online?

If someone told me a couple of years ago I would be attending something called a Tweetup,  I would have looked at them with a blank stare. But sure enough, “on-line” social networking has extended naturally into “in person” social networking, as it should. I mean, if we feel comfortable communicating with and sharing ideas with people we don’t know on line, why wouldn’t we feel just as comfortable doing it in person?

As it turns out, the “in person” networking is good, especially if you either bring a friend, or meet a friend there or know the people who are going (to get over those uncomfortable first few minutes of meeting strangers for the first time) …

Last week I received a message on Twitter from a successful female broker I know inviting me to a Tweetup in NYC. I replied saying yes I could make it – and confirmed she was going too. Ok, I thought, at least I will know one person there.  I re-Tweeted the invitation, and heard from a broker I know in Brooklyn who said he might attend if I was going to be there. I confirmed I would.

And so on Tuesday evening I attended my first Tweetup. The group of about 15 was both interesting and varied. A number of the names would be familiar to the readers of this blog. They included a group of brokers, agents, a couple of attorneys, a mortgage broker, three people from a technology company, a professional blogger and a graduate school student attending NYU who saw the Tweetup invitation on Twitter and decided to check it out. And me.

We talked about the real estate business, technology, upcoming conferences we might attend.  We gave advice to each other on how best  to use Facebook, Twitter, how to get rid of unwanted “friends” and “followers”, how to find new ones.

I left the event glad that I had made the commitment to attend. It would have been easy not to go and find something more comfortable to do considering the unease often associated with making live conversation with people you do not know.

Under any other circumstances, this group never would have connected in real life. Technology brought us together. And we all walked away with something we didn’t have when we arrived. Personally, I got the opportunity to learn more about a broker I have known and admired for several years.  I identified a new business opportunity that had been staring me in the face and I just hadn’t seen it. I now have the resume of of the graduate school student, who will make a great summer intern candidate and I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours real time (not on-line time) with a pretty nice group of people.

And there is a lot to be said for that.

5 thoughts on “The NYC Tweetup – Are We Less Comfortable in Person than Online?

  1. Thanks for sharing your Tweetup experience. I think that many of us are eagerly jumping into the world of social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), and it’s exciting, uncomfortable, motivating…all the things you want in a true learning experience. But how do we “marry” this new world with what we have been doing throughout our real estate careers – searching out and establishing “live”, in-person, face-to-face relationships to build our business from. From your Tweetup experience, we can see how the new connects with the proven…and the result is even better.

  2. Sherry,

    This is a great assessment of the event. I’m sure there are countless people out there who feel as you did, hesitant to meet people you only know online. I felt the same way, but quickly learned that people who take the time to organize such events do so because they are eager to make connections and build upon the relationships they have established online. It’s one thing to hide behind a computer and give your opinion, but it’s another thing to get out there and develop a personal relationship. It goes to show you, social media creates the opportunity, but it is the in-person meeting which makes that opportunity valuable. Hopefully I’ll see you at Real Estate Tech South.

    http://twitter.com/JoeStampone1

  3. Hey Sherry,

    Great article and nice comparison on the pro’s vs the con’s on attending an event like that. I had a similar experience when attended a Twitter Fundraiser called the Twestival in Boston http://twestival.com/ worried I wouldn’t know too many people. It ended up being a great time and was happy to be involved with the event that raised money for clean water in underdeveloped countries. I also connected with some Real Estate Tweets that I might not have gotten to know on-line like we connected IRL!

  4. Great article and thanks for sharing your experience. I am relatively new to the social networking and still working on marrying face to face to Twitter and Facebook. Thanks for your post like this, that give me more insight on how others are combining the two.

  5. Ron, Greg, Joe and Cheri – thanks for sharing your thoughts on this – bottom line, it makes sense to step outside the comfort zone, when you put effort into an activity or event, it is amazing what you get back in return…

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