My Social Status Conundrum: The Tweetup

I have long been a fan of convening with like-minded individuals, bonded only by a common interest, such as volunteering to lead tweens and teenagers, attending indie concerts, and networking at non-profit technology events. Shouldn’t I do the same and connect with others who share my passion for social media and other interactive technology?

Enter: the Tweetup

Tweetup [-noun]: A gathering of nerds attempting social contact, likely for the first time. Usually disintegrates into everyone running to the nearest computer to type to one another.
Sample use in a sentence:
Tommy: Hey Jethro, quit playing WoW its time to meet some folks at the tweetup!
Jethro: Oh yeah I forgot about that, I can’t wait to meet BigBootay421 at the tweetup, but first I need to slay this orc!
[Trusted Source: Urban Dictionary]

Cue my social status conundrum.  To attend a social venue offline to share with my online counterparts means that I must actually show up in a social setting.  I fret to imagine of how we Tweeps might interact at all.  By convening in person, we forfeit our primary means of communication.  Stripped of keyboards, decks and mice, we are exposed and reduced to avatar-less human beings.  Even worse, my real (offline) friends might spot me at a social media “club” event, and the true essence of my uber-geek may be exposed.

To weigh the pros and cons, it is fair to consider some of the reasons why I enjoy my Twitter life as a separate entity from my social (in-person) life:

  1. Mutual Acceptance: The social interaction in my online networking realm is, in vast majority, limited those who are also using the same medium.  Thus, they share my geek status.  Those whose social lives are too full with art classes, wine tastings or football games have since tweeted their lunch and have subsequently left my geek-verse.
  2. Duality: By large majority, I can keep my geeky side under wraps while coordinating social lives with my more handsomely-scheduled socialite friends who dwell only in the offline world.  That is, I can live one life sharing things that my tech geek friends would enjoy, and I can live another where I partake in everyday, mid-20s debauchery.
  3. Credibility: I can garner more respect in the geek world if I don’t share those glimpses of a regular social life outside of Twitter.  Committed geeks don’t appreciate half-breeds.

On the other hand, I look forward to meeting these online individuals in person who have shared valuable insights, technology reports, political commentary, breaking news, and cute animal videos.  And, the group as a whole might be more socially adept than the stereotype would dictate; the New York Times reported yesterday that interacting online is supplements, and perhaps enhances, an offline social life [report].

I pray that a masquerade ball of sorts for social media people, in which we can hide behind our online avatars and maintain anonymity with onlookers, becomes acceptable. (Or, perhaps Gaga sets a new trend with her Kodak glasses.)  For now though, I’m afraid we’ll just have to wait until tech is cool again.

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