Social Web Moment: Twitter As My Kevin Bacon

December 27, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Content Strategy

Hey. This post dips a bit more into the personal side of things, so if that offends you perhaps revisit our “How To Learn SEO” post from last week or go have some spiked egg nog and come back tomorrow. I promise we’ll be back to nitty gritty SEO/marketing stuff by then. Hugs!

My friend Gwenbell has been running a Best of 2009 Blog Challenge over the past month, offering up daily writing prompts to encourage people to look back and reflect on their experiences, stories and adventures from 2009. I’ve been anxiously waiting for a moment when I could hop in and play. Today seems like an appropriate day.

Here’s today’s prompt:

December 27 Social web moment. Did you meet someone you used to only know from her blog? Did you discover Twitter?

My social Web moment: Using Twitter as my Kevin Bacon. Not for business but to meet some of my closest friends in Troy. [I know. Just get your tissues now.]

Let me back up.

As many probably already know, I moved to Troy, NY from California on October 2 of 2008. I moved here to take a job at We Build Pages and I moved knowing two people — Rhea Drysdale and Patrick Sexton. Within three months, all three of us had left the job we moved from different corners of the country to take. By five months Pat had moved back to his life in Hawaii. By seven months, I had a freshly broken heart and was wondering what to do with myself. Living in upstate New York, knowing no one and working long days out of your apartment is almost as much fun as you’d imagine. I challenge you to meet cool people when you don’t know a single person and lack an office environment to leach friends from. Actually, I don’t. Because it sucks.

Enter Twitter.

Anyone who’s ever met me in person knows I’m actually pretty quiet at first meet. I know the Twitter version of Lisa gives you the impression that I spend my days screaming at everyone, but that’s not really the case, or at least not at first. Twitter gave me a way to reach out and meet people in my IRL neighborhood. Or, more accurately, it gave them a way to reach out and meet me. A few examples:

  • @kimmieoftroy: I think Kim represents my first “we met on Twitter” friend. Kim stumbled across my account while scouting out local people through Twitter Grader. We went back and forth for awhile and then laughed our ass off for 3 hours over dinner during our first real face-to-face encounter. Our saddest IRL friend moment: Her tweeting me while parked in my driveway to let me know she was outside. No. That really happened.
  • @alloveralbany: A local publisher in the area that found me when I was doing my (now defunct) Kneesockz project. I did an interview with them and then met Greg over lunch to talk business and other things. Both he and his partner Mary have been great friends to me and Rhea since our first meeting and sometimes we head to @uncommongrounds to bother them in their virtual office. They’re great people and All Over Albany is hands down my favorite area blog.
  • @dylanspencer: The former Managing Editor of the American Marketing Association (among other things) for the region, Dylan got in touch with me about contributing content to the AMA newsletter. I originally thought he was a 40-year-old creepy Twitter stalker, but it turns out he’s 27 with enough snarky wit and comebacks to rival my own. He’s since moved to Brooklyn to take a job with The Jar Group, but he came all the way up to Albany to attend my holiday party last weekend. That’s friend dedication. And why he’s  my Favorite.
  • @kgallo: A former stranger who reached out to me and Rhea on Twitter about starting an Albany SEO Meetup. I jumped at the chance to meet new folks with common interests and her meetups are now monthly and always a great time. More importantly, they introduced me to some of my favorite people, including @john_jordan who, if you follow on Twitter, know I tweet with like it’s my job.
  • @amymengel: The founder of the very popular Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley. She reached out to Rhea looking for speakers for the very first event and we’ve been fans of hers and the SMBTV ever since. That first SMBTV event also introduced us to @stuartfoster and @mikegermano – two semi-local guys I am thrilled to have met (even if Mike roots for the Yankees).

So yeah, I just gave some shout outs to people who made my year in Troy, but the point is, all of these relationships were formed through Twitter. It opened the door for connections that otherwise may not have formed had Twitter not acted as the Kevin Bacon in our lives. It’s allowed me to talk to that business owner who sticks his nose up at the thought of using Twitter as a way to create real relationships and assure him that he can. Because I’ve spent a year of my life doing just that. Real relationships are being formed on Twitter every day. It happened by taking the cold and delayed status update and turning it into a conversation. It’s made us all friends.

My social Web moment of 2009 was learning to leverage Twitter not only for business, but as a place to form relationships and bring some incredible new people into my life. I know a lot of people are surprised that Rhea and I haven’t abandoned Troy, but these people have given me a great reason to stay. And Twitter helped me find them.

That was my social Web moment of 2009. What was yours? Feel free to share in the comments or create your own post and tag it with “best09” to become part of Gwen’s project.

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