Meeting Twitter/blog pals IRL

By Caitlin Kelly

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I began blogging because my then-agent insisted I create a social media presence to help sell my second book. I never wanted to tweet, but thought I’d better get with the program. Ditto for Instagram.

But I now enjoy them all.

I use social media, more than anything, to connect professionally and personally with people I find smart, interesting and civil.

 

The photo above was taken at a favorite Toronto cafe where, in March 2017, I finally met another writer, someone super-creative I’d admired from a distance, and who knew some people in common.

I only “knew” her from her Facebook posts and blog, but we had a great time. I later hired and paid her to coach me on how to better use social media for work, which she teaches at my alma mater, the University of Toronto.

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A blog meeting in Paris, January 2015. We had a great time!

This trip — most of it solo through seven European cities and six countries — has also finally given me a chance to meet some people I’ve only known through social media.

Several years ago, I started reading Small Dog Syndrome, intrigued by the worldly young woman who wrote it. We began by reading one another’s blogs, worked together (virtually) for a year, and finally met face to face only in January 2015 when I stepped off the Eurostar from Paris.

We sat and talked for so long at the train station her worried husband called to see if we were OK. We were indeed!

They generously hosted me — having just met — for a week(!) in their teeny London flat, and this month I was able to return the favor by hosting them for several nights at the Paris apartment we rented this trip.

It’s been a huge pleasure to get to know them both.

Now in Berlin, I’ve met three more social media pals, all of whom I’ve gotten to know through their blogs, some private emails and weekly Twitterchats focused on travel, like #trlt, #culturetrav and #travelskills.

One is an Irish woman who also works in journalism; here’s her blog. 

I met Kate and her fiance, and we spent the day talking and walking through a flea market and through Tiergarten, one of Berlin’s huge and fantastic parks, filled with brown bunnies, lakes with rowboats, beer gardens and lots of benches.

It felt immediately comfortable, as if we weren’t meeting face to face for the first time.

The other two people I met,  through weekly travel Twitterchats, are a travel blogger and — of all things — an archaeologist who works primarily on a Neolithic site in Turkey; I knew he and I were sympatico when we started (!) tweeting Rocky Horror Picture Show lyrics at one another across the Atlantic.

We all went out for lunch and had a fantastic time. Finally meeting someone face to face is always a bit of a blind date, so it requires optimism and openness. But, really, it’s just lunch!

I’ve done this now in several cities, and enjoyed every meeting.

 

Have you met some of your blog or Twitter followers in person?

 

How did it turn out?

 

28 thoughts on “Meeting Twitter/blog pals IRL

  1. Well, I met you, that went well, ha! I’ve met some penpals who are now my best friends.

    I’ve met some folks from my favourite now defunct internet forums on my travels. So nice to put faces/voices to so many words. I have this thing about imagining what a person’s voice sounds like. If it doesn’t fit when I meet them, that’s ok because I’m just happy they’re them.

    No one from twitter, but I mostly talk too much for that.

    Lx

  2. wonderful! i think it is such a lucky crossing of paths. we are all as global as we want to be at this point in time. i’ve met 3 – one who lives here and i had no idea we had mutual friends until i started following his blog and he talked about a theater that my friend ran, another, a former sports/music journal, now a librarian, when i went to my brother’s wedding in woodstock last summer – met he and his wife for lunch and they gave me a ride to the airport, and a third in ireland, a mother of four, swim coach, nurse and writer, whose kids warned her not to meet me, saying i might be ‘a man who is psycho and might kill her,’ for we’d only met online. all 3 have been wonderful experiences and i feel we are connected for the long haul. hopefully you and i will cross paths one day in the future when i come to new york to see my brother)

    1. Indeed! It is definitely going to happen for us. 🙂

      I think as long as you meet everyone new in a public place in daylight hours, and stay sober, (to be safe), you’re fine.

  3. This sounds wonderful, but I am, unfortunately, unable to meet anyone in person because of personal and financial reasons. I would very much like to keep in touch through social media. I hope to hear from you soon.

  4. I let a blogging friend stay overnight last year when she was passing through town. It went wonderfully. We come from very different backgrounds, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely, and spent hours talking about this and that subject. I was very sad to see her go when she left.
    That’s my only experience so far, but hopefully in the future that will change. How’s Paris, btw?

    1. That is so cool. I’m delighted it worked out so well for both of you — I also felt a little bereft when C and J returned to London, but I will see them again in a month.

      Paris was amazing…now in Berlin, alone, and soon (sob) to leave for Budapest after 10 days here. This is my 1st visit to Berlin and I like it a lot and I love my hotel and neighborhood, so it will be sad to leave. I have a 12-hour (!) train ride to Budapest, where I’ll be for four days, meeting up there with my BFF from college freshman English class and her daughter.

      I have a blog post ready about Berlin, with lots of photos.

      1. Huh. I wish! I have done nothing at night, which is pathetic. It has been REALLY hot here (like 85 degrees) so after an entire day walking the city in that heat, I’m too pooped to head out again.

      2. Damn that is HOT. I am finding few buildings here have AC — and nor does my hotel room. They gave me a fan…it’s been fine as i keep the door wide open to the balcony and get a good breeze that way. Much cooler this evening.

  5. I definitely have no problem meeting and befriending people I encounter on social media, with whom I have shared interests. Why not? I’ve done this since the late 1990s via USENET, and have had no reason to change yet.

    These platforms are all about making connections, right?

      1. Which is true. In my case, well, the formation of my real-life social network depends critically on the connections I was able to make online. I was lucky, I suppose, but this has worked out well for me.

      2. For some women (wisely), it’s a safety issue. The people I’ve chosen to meet are all, like me, long and happily married, and well-established in their careers. I think caution is prudent.

  6. Pingback: [BLOG] Some Thursday links | A Bit More Detail

  7. thoughtsoframankang

    This is so cool! I’m such a private person that it scares me to reach out but at the same time I want the experience that you had! It’s crazy how you can connect with people just by putting yourself out there and you made such good friends! One day.

    1. Well, bear in mind that this was not meeting people with whom I had ZERO prior discussion or exchange….I’d been emailing and tweeting back and forth for months, possibly a year or more, so I had a pretty good idea what I was getting into. There are people I would choose not to meet, for the same reason.

      Discretion and safety first! 🙂

  8. Yes. In fact in my corner of the blogosphere three of us just got together, and each of us posted about it. I think for the readers it was also interesting to hear our different perspectives etc. I have been blogging since 2009, and in the beginning I was anonymous and was very apprehensive about meeting anyone. So much has changed.

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