According to my stats, I signed up for a twitter account on June 16, 2007. Yes, that’s right! 2007. I guess to talk about the twitter story, I have to go back to thePamie story . . . or maybe online journaling in general. Apparently, people have been writing about their lives online since 1994. Here is some history here and here is a fairly accurate wikipedia entry.
I discovered Pamie’s online journal, Squishy, in 2000. This was before blogger and movable type. Seriously, they didn’t exist back then and so people who wrote things on the internet had to hand code each page. Usually this meant making up some sort of template and then cutting and pasting the “journal entry”. She wrote about her day, gave her cats personalities and their own entries, and every Valentine’s day she wrote these hilarious and bizarre poems. It turned out in 2000 that there were a whole lot more of these “online journal” things including this funny guy named Stee who wrote Plaintive Wail, and a guy named Rob who worked IT at a “fancy pants college in New Haven, Connecticut”. Well there ended up being a whole bunch of people that in the grand scheme really wasn’t that many people and they chatted with each other on listserves and forums, had awards for the journals (best writing, best entry, best layout. etc.) and then everybody wanted to meet everybody else and they started having “JournalCon”.
Well I hung out on those forums during law school and met people and all that. I hung out on pamie’s forum (she doesn’t have one anymore). At one point, a bunch of people (who were not me) went to Vegas and sang over the top karaoke at a dive bar. It has since burned down. Pamie has also set up the dewey donation system to help out libraries. It started because one of her local libraries had a wish list of books and she got readers of her page to buy the books on the amazon.com wish list.
And even though Pamie is too busy to run a forum, those connections are still there. I can name weddings that resulted from people meeting on that forum. Yeah that’s a little bizarre even for me. In fact, I think I heard about twitter from one of those folks. I know that my first batch of people I followed were based on connections from there.
And as a result of keeping up with former classmates and friends in DC and those internet folks who I like to think of as friends in the way you would call a pen pal your friend, I’ve been online for quite a while with an ebb and flow of how much time I put into the whole process. Right now in small town Arkansas, I tend to put more time due to the dry county, lack of single professionals in town, and the ease of logging into twitter on the crackberry.
I went to my first LRtweetup to meet David Kinkaide and Blake Rutherford. I am a big fan of their blogs and since they were both going to be at Copper Grill, I thought I would go check it out, meet some folks, and meet some of my “local net heroes.” (damn did I just sound like a nerd groupie. I think I just did). And I did meet them. I also met other people as well and I had a good time and met lots of fun, friendly, interesting people. Oh and I was thinking about moving to Little Rock.
Over the year, I have met other people and gone to other tweetups. It’s a friendly and entertaining group who are there for you when you are up and are praying for you when you are down. They managed to save the dean of UALR Law School’s life. (well sorta) I’ve had the opportunity to meet people that I wouldn’t have met under any other circumstances and to share ideas with people whom I probably wouldn’t have had time if I had to do it one on one. It also reminds me that I am not alone and the world is bigger than the town I am in.
While the internet and twitter doesn’t replace face to face time, it does give you the opportunity to keep in touch and meet people. Strangely enough, the LRTweetup community reminds me of the initial old school online journaling from the late 90s early 2000s which is why I brought it up in the first place. And well social media was around back then, before it was called social media. And like all things social, some of the people I’ve met at LRTweetup will be friends for years and others will fade into the background. The internet doesn’t change human behavior, it only augments or diminishes certain facets of it.
So it will be interesting to see what happens.
As far as the “power of social media” goes. Since so many of the LRTweetup folks are in PR, I will give the where are they now spiel.
Pamie managed to turn her journal into a bona fide writing career in the entertainment industry. One of the fellow online journalling folks named “Glark” and “Wing Chun” (No I don’t know their real names” liked her snark and asked her to write for a website called Television Without Pity. As you can see, Bravo has since bought it or powers it. I can’t keep up. And she has three books in print and has worked on several television shows. Read the about me page.
It will be interesting to watch what great things the LRTweetup community does in the future.