I went to my first tweet-up on Thursday and had a blast. The Colonel from the Chicago Tribune hosted the event and it had a surprisingly large turn-out. I'd like to tell you about my experience and give yet another reason you social media types and marketers need to be poking a toe into the twitter water. A What?
A tweet-up is a meet-up conceived on Twitter and/or bringing together folks who follow each other through the service. While everyone there used Twitter, the social media capabilities spread far and wide, including Stumblers, Yelpers, and good ol' bloggers.
Two Chicago Traditions - Talking and Drinking
I didn't know anyone there, but it was not difficult to discern that the chatty, type-A personalities in the front were my people. @BobbiDigital said it best - "I just looked for the people on their iPhones." I met some nice folks, including @kvetchingeditor, @BrentDPayne, RodRakic, and @LenKendall.
There weren't a lot of strictly marketing people there (I didn't have a chance to say hello to local marketing celebrity @Armano), but it was still useful to hear how other people were using social media. Maybe it was especially advantageous that they didn't use it for their day job.
The Colonel, A Perfect Host
The whole thing was hosted by The Colonel, the figurehead of sorts of the Chicago Tribune. (He was even sighted buying drinks for the ladies; what a gent!) If you're in the (second) city, I recommend you follow @ColonelTribune.
What's the Use?
BG and I have family and our jobs almost exclusively since we moved to Chicago one year ago. And while I intend to maintain this focus, events like this energize my creativity, clear up blogger's block, and allow for some great connections.
It was great to put faces to names, but also to feed off of the energy that was almost palpable in the room. I did not realize how tiring it was to get the same confused looks from friends and family members when I talked about these social media tools. It was invigorating to not have to preface my conversations with definitions!
Remember that the Tribune is a business (and one of the old media at that), so let's chat about the ROI of social media for just a minute. I personally have been much more eager to check the Tribune as a source of information since the tweet-up and I suspect I'm not alone. Plus, last week the Tribune garnered the top search results spots with the R. Kelly and Tim Russert news that broke on Friday in large part due to the boost given by their online Twitter audience (and a crack news team).
Needless to say, you can follow me on Twitter. Marketing folks should use @MarketerBlog or you can go with my personal handle @DJFrancis.