Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss
Girls just wanna have fun ~ Cyndi Lauper
Make some fun, happy time ~ Alex Ovechkin

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Socializing Social Media

What may have started out as quick 140 character tweets describing “What’s happening” has turned into a true social outlet that has expanded our world, our views and our circle of acquaintances. I have had a Facebook account for a couple of years but have been on Twitter for only 11 months. Of the two, Twitter is the site I check first. To me, the kind of social media connection found on Twitter brings new people into your life, whereas Facebook typically seems to keep you connected to a few “friends”, former coworkers, distant relatives or fellow alumni. I add quotes to “friends” because most of the time I find that actual long time friends that I connect with is done in person or by phone, not postings on Facebook. This may not be the case for other social media users, but I think it is pretty typical for the most part.

I will admit my initial foray into Twitter was because of articles of celebrities using it. I thought it sounded interesting and signed up. I soon found the majority of those accounts were self serving and their tweets were actually boring to read, lacking any connection to real people, so I went exploring. Following my passion for hockey, I found my “real” people and never looked back. These people are my Tweeples, these people are my Tweeps.

Twitter has become my place to interact with people from all walks of life that share my interest in hockey. I have Tweeps from all parts of the US, Canada and even the UK. We use Twitter like an intense chat room during hockey games, and share work day woes to carry us through until the next hockey game comes around. I follow and tweet with fellow hockey fans, sports bloggers, actual athletes, and a few people just getting started on Twitter.

Tweeples, with the exception of the fake celebrity accounts, are real people. Some of us may keep our actual identities under wraps, but our tweets are real. We discuss our lives, our families, our jobs, our pets, our everyday foibles and successes, in addition to hockey. We announce pregnancies and births, new jobs, new cars, and anything else we think may be of interest to other Tweeple we have come to know. We commiserate over job losses and sometimes even try to help them find a new one. We share our sympathy when one of us suffers the personal loss of a friend or family member. We agonize together when our team is defeated and joyously celebrate wins.

Once you have an established core of followers, you’ll find that your Tweeple are ok with it if you root for an opposing team. They don’t care if you prefer rock and roll over country music or drive an SUV or drink or smoke or sing karaoke, for that matter. They don’t judge you if you are married, single or divorced; a parent or grandparent; overweight or underweight; if you may or may not be considered attractive; or even if you are a student or an adult out making their way in the world. You’ll recognize which ones of your Tweeples are likeminded when new followers stop following rather quickly. I often laugh to myself when I look at the tweets of new followers and see they do not share my interests or sense of humor. I am usually not surprised when they are gone in a matter of hours. I know that those that hang in there are doing so for a reason, which makes me appreciate them all the more.

Many of us will never meet in person, but because of our mutual interest, we often make an effort to by participating in “Tweetups” and “Hockey Viewing Parties”. If a Tweep uses an actual photograph of themselves as their avatar, you may recognize them in person, but those of us that don’t could remain a mystery without some way to get together in real life. (At least a mystery in regards to getting the full visual picture of who they are, because our tweets usually give a pretty good indication of our personalities).
Shown in this photo: @MedicChick, @Lil_Knuckler, @Sproing_Buzz,
@lorirusso, @tyynimeri, @danawalker,  @love_the_game, @VaMedic,
@ahwahoo2006, @KellyinDC, @lisamcgrath, @markrussopga, @hockeymomva

These Tweetups and viewing parties are a great way to expand connections we make on Twitter. Sometimes they are large gatherings to watch away games and can last several hours, sometimes they are quick mini parties at a sports arena (like the #caps108 intermission ones). And, in case you were wondering; most, if not all, of these meetings for hockey tweeple include some form of drinking. It gives us an opportunity for getting to meet followers in person, shake their hand or give them a hug, put a real face with the tweep you have been “talking” to for months. We already know each other, because keeping up a false persona on Twitter is hard to do and you would get called out pretty quickly. So no one is really surprised by the tweep we are meeting for the first time, it’s just nice to make their acquaintance face to face. I have actually mapped my route from my seat at Verizon Center to the #caps108 meeting place so I could be sure I had the maximum time to see tweeple in person. It was well worth the effort! My tweeps are a great bunch of people!

There are people who don’t use or understand the concept of Twitter; my husband was one of them. In the beginning, he would laugh and say that these people aren’t real. Now after hearing stories about tweeps, seeing pictures they have posted, my sharing of sports news through bloggers that tweet, and actually meeting some of them at a #caps108, his perception has changed. Will he get on Twitter or Facebook? I doubt it, but that doesn’t sway me from participating in socializing through social media. My world is even larger because of it…Any questions?

5 comments:

  1. damn. hockeymom and love_the_game asked if i was going to #caps108, and i said, "maybe." i see 4+ people i know in that photo. :( i think i misunderstood was #caps108 was about!

    next time! and i missed you at the japers/puckdaddy thing too!

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  2. I actually didn't go to the Puck Daddy/Japers Rink Tweetup, even though I got called out by Wysh himself for bailing. I only get to about one game a month, but always try to get to a #caps108 when I do. I hope we get to meet at one soon!

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  3. well, i'm almost always up at my seats in 421 with mr. LOL himself. he can't make this wednesday (my erstwhile codriver's coming instead), but we'll be there friday and sunday (including skating).

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  4. Celebs are boring as hell. =P

    Great article, and I can definitely relate! I have barely anyone to talk to at home here about hockey, and so Twitter's an awesome outlet for that. Our blog has also gotten so many more followers and readers because of it, which is awesome. Overall, it's been a great experience. :)

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  5. Great post!! I made it to a few #caps108 gatherings last season, I really need to be more diligent this year. Sadly, my only excuse is that by the time I get through the ridiculous line for the section 115 ladies' room, the second period is beginning!

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