Tuesday, 27 July 2010

My first tweetup

I’ve been an active Twitter user (or Twitterer or Tweeter) for around 18 months now, but have not until recently attended a tweetup. A tweetup is a get together of people on Twitter to socialise and get to know each other, and to put that crucial face to the name. You may know some of your Twitter followers in real life, you may not. So it’s an opportunity to meet people you have tweeted with, but perhaps not met. If the person has not posted their real picture on their Twitter page, you also have no idea what they look like.

One of my Twitter followers Richard Chester aka @captain_doodle had arranged a tweetup for Saturday 24th July. The location was Fairholme visitor centre in the Peak District, the activity a 10 mile walk around the Lady Bower reservoir, taking in some lovely scenery and stunning climbing in the process. This may sound like an odd way of getting to know people, but it worked very effectively. By walking with different members of the group on the way round, you got to spend time with all of them in turn, and find out about them.

To some people the very idea of a tweetup may sound dangerous or sinister. Meeting people you know only from the Internet. I agree this probably does sound dangerous or sinister, if that’s how you put it. However, we had all been in contact with each other for some time and had gotten to know each other well, and had shared comments, jokes and held conversations on Twitter. Hardly the activities of some obsessive serial killer! Also, as the location was a very public one (the great outdoors) there was not a lot that could go wrong.

So we all met in the Fairholme visitors car park before the 10am start. The weather was looking good, and a fine day of good walking lay ahead. On arrival I was introduced to my fellow Twitterers, some of whom I knew from outside Twitter already, some I did not. After the initial introductions were made, and some photos taken of us all, we made our way round the walk, with Richard and Shelley Chester acting as our guides as they knew the route.

The walk was absolutely gorgeous. Finding a stunning walk in the Peak District is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Point your boots in any direction, and off you go!

As we walked, we all started getting to know each other, with all of us taking the time to talk to each and every member of the group. What struck me most was how much a person reveals of themselves through their social media persona. Whilst most of us do not reveal everything about ourselves, we reveal enough to see that the real life and online personas are the same. The characteristics that endears you to someone online, their traits, quirks, sense of humour are all present when you meet the person for real. So it’s reassuring to see that they are exactly as they appear online. The jokes that someone makes online are the same sorts of jokes they make when you meet them.

The walk itself went extremely well. We had walked up some very steep hills, and over some very exposed ridges. Throughout the walk, the scenery was stunning and the weather was more than kind. We all bonded with each other, and now have a much better idea of what we are like.

By the end of the walk, I had gotten to know my companions really well, and had made some brilliant new friends in the process.


  1. You didn't mention your exciting trousers.

  2. Oh yes, I forgot about those. I have another equally garish pair of walking trousers which I will wear the next time we meet :-)