Meetups. They’re fun, we all agree, right?
But schedules don’t always match up, so what’s a girl to do?
Follow the hashtag.
And now, boys and girls, I’ll tell you a story.
In my early days of Twitter, especially with the business account I started in 2009, I really wanted to connect with people in Orange County. While following and listing people for that purpose, I also found a meetup called Social Media Mastermind, Orange County.
For years, I followed the people, loosely followed the hashtag, and finally started attending this year. It was cool because I felt like I knew some of the people before I actually became part of the group. (That really helps with the anxiety of meeting new people, by the way.)
One of the long-time #SMMOC members, Dennis Carpenter, recently moved out of state. A business trip brought him back to Orange County and he made time to attend the meetup. (Also, it was nice to see how lovingly greeted he was — what a group this is. But I digress.)
“I’m so glad to finally meet you,” I said.
“But I’ve known you for years!” he said.
Dennis was convinced that we had met in person before. I had to remind him I started coming to this meetup in January of 2014.
So I said,
“The hashtag keeps us together.”(If you don’t know the Captain and Tenille song “Love Will Keep Us Together,” listen here.)
Which, of course, people said I should tweet, post laughter.
This group has a sense of humor, what can I say?
But I Know You
Yes, back to the point.
A few conversations and post-lunch debriefs later, he still couldn’t believe we had never met in person before.
Friends, this is the beauty of social media. You really do connect; that is, if you want to.
In retrospect, I should have taken a selfie for Dennis to round-out this story but I didn’t think of writing it until after he left the lunch group. In this photo by Oscar Gonzalez, he is behind me.
What’s the moral to the story?
Follow a conference, meetup, or ongoing event hashtag all year round. The fun can continue in tweets and Instagram posts and, who knows, you may find that you have a great group of friends.
And since I started going to the group I made a Twitter List. Those tweets may or may not have the hashtag, but it’s a good way to help support your new friends and to get to know them a little better.