Twitter Meetups: Get to Know Your Followers

Photo from Flickr Commons.

I love Twitter. It is a perfect way to keep up with what my favorite people are up to, and all the happenings around the world. And recently, it is become the place to make new friends.

I went to my first Twitter meetups this month, and it was just great. What is a Twitter meetup you ask? It’s an in-person gathering of people who are active on Twitter. There is often a mutual following between the attendees, but not necessarily. Really, there aren’t any criteria. If you see the invitation, or someone tells you about it, you are invited.

While I was curating the People of YYC Twitter account at the end of August, I had a chance to connect with so many new people, many who I ended up bringing over to my personal account after my week was over. This is how I managed to connect with two particular Calgarians who organize some of these meetups. I was enjoying chatting with some of these new Twitter pals that I decided I should go to one.

So on Saturday, September 12th I attended my first YYCBeers, and the following Friday I attended my second unnamed meetup. As previously mentioned, I had a ton of fun and it was just a wonderful experience to finally shake the hands and see the faces of some of my Twitter followers. Rather than go through all the details of what I did, I wanted the organizers of these meetups to talk about why they do it.

I enjoyed some nachos with my new friends during my first Twitter meetup. Photo by Heidi Stobert.

YYCBeers is organized by Brogan McPherson (@thisbrogan) and Jess Curran (@JessCurran_), and I was lucky enough to have Brogan answer a few questions for me. The duo started the meetup in August of 2014, and there are usually monthly events. Paul Niewinski is my other interviewee, and his bi-weekly meetups don’t have a name but are well-attended no less.

Both Brogan and Paul were looking for a meetup that was a little more casual and inviting than the options already available to Calgarians. While the place and start time of these events is set, everything else about it is unofficial by nature.

“I realized the potential of bringing more people together in a friendly stress free environment,” says Paul.

Once the details are figured out, they are tweeted out. While these events are advertised via Twitter, no official invitation is required. Bringing friends is encouraged. YYCBeers makes sure to keep sharing the details as the event gets closer, to ensure visibility.

“I like to emphasize that our events are for everyone, which means there is not a particular crowd that comes out each and every time,” says Brogan.

Paul has a little more detailed strategy. He will tweet out all the details, then tag all of his Calgary followers in it. All those people are encouraged to tag their other friends they would like to have join. He maintains conversations having to do with the event and keeps track of what is or might be coming. This gives a solid point of reference when it comes to making a reservation at a venue.

Many people might be a little hesitant to come to a meetup for the first time. I will admit even I was. But everyone I met, from those who went to these meetup regularly to other first timers were warm and welcoming. Brogan was the very first person I met at the YYC Beers brunch and since we were the only ones there for a while, we got to chat and my mind was put at ease almost immediately. Paul makes sure to check in with everyone at his events to make sure they are having a wonderful time. It is important to remember that everyone is there to have fun and meet new people. Likely you have had conversations with some of these people before, so you have something you can talk about.

One of Paul's meetups at the Pig and Duke. Photo by Heidi Stobert.
One of Paul’s meetups at the Pig and Duke. Photo by Heidi Stobert.

“I think Calgary gets a bad rap as being a place that it’s hard to make friends. However, if you put in the effort get out to these events, I guarantee you will start to see a lot more warm and welcoming people who are out there to do the same thing – meet interesting new people, chat and have some laughs, “ says Brogan.

When I asked if there were any downsides to organising these events, neither of them could give me any. Sure it’s work, but the chance to have an awesome time with some new people is worth it.

“There really isn’t anything I don’t enjoy about hosting these events, sure they add to my already busy schedule but the enjoyment I receive from seeing everyone together overweighs any of the work I do to get to that point.” says Paul.

Follow YYCBeers and Paul Niewinski to find the next meetup. You won’t regret it.

Have any questions or want to talk about your Twitter meetups? Email or send me a tweet.