Like you, I try to attend as many Tweetups as possible. They’re great for networking, nice for adding to your resume, and helpful in staying up on the latest happenings and technology. Luckily, being in Boston, there are several per day/week/month to choose from. But what I’ve noticed lately, is that I may not be cut out for professional Tweetup starlet: the more I go, the more I wonder if my networking skills are truly this bad.

When attending several Tweetups in Boston, you’ll find the same groups attending en masse. Maybe its the healthcare crowd. You always have at least 3 Twitteratti in the room. Higher Ed usually represents. But are we making it better or worse for ourselves by coming in cliches? Is it just about our own ability to branch out and mingle?

I’ve attended 2 high-profile Tweetups in the past month. Both of which, I’m sad to say I left early. I’m not great at the mix and mingle part, but do love being in on the conversations. I’ve found, for me, structured gatherings work best. Whether around a common theme, conference or short agenda, I’ve felt more at home and had an easier time connecting and talking with people. When left to just a large gathering of those who heard about the event, I find myself stammering, feeling awkward and needing an excuse to leave ASAP.

I’m trying to push my boundaries, rely less on my higher ed Tweetup going brethren, and flex those networking muscles. What are your tips for successfully navigating a Tweetup? How has your Tweetup experience been? Do you have tips on mingling to share? What are your faves?

4 Comments

  1. This is an interesting observation. Tweetups are, logically, supposed to be an in real life gathering of a community. When we meet up here (you know, the middle of Pennsyltucky nowhere), we actually have a bit of variety, since it’s a large campus and we are a bit spread out. However, our tweetups still became less and less frequent because we weren’t meeting new people; it sort of felt like the novelty had worn off. Is that what we are experiencing in general? That the novelty is gone, so why bother? I’m with you in thinking there is more success in having an overarching reason to meet; a topic, a cause, a need for ideas. Even the boisterous among us (*waves hand*) feel lost in a group of people without knowingly having some connection in common you can then build on for introductions and jumping off points. It’s probably why I love networking at conferences, simply because I have the confidence to jump into the water and flail around until I find someone who will save me from looking totally foolish by myself. (Yay, new friendships!) I suspect there are a good number of people out there who find it hard to jump into the conversation IRL — thus the draw to social media, because you can lurk without looking like a fish out of water until you eventually become comfortable with the conversation and pipe in when you feel you have something to offer.

    Good thoughts, Jess.

  2. We had a funny/interesting moment at #pseweb when a few of us organized a tweetup between sessions because a lot of us communicating on/RTing on Twitter hadn’t met IRL yet. Imagine about 15 folks who had no problem tweeting back and forth for a couple days standing in a circle in a gathering punctuated by awkward silences. Guess many folks are better at mediated communication behind a keyboard or smartphone than having to look others in the eye and directly converse.

  3. How about instead of doing so much “networking”, you spend your time hanging out with your friends? Unless you’re looking for a new job, why do you need to do so much networking? “Networking” results in one thing: making a bunch of acquaintances who you may need for something at some future date. People you “network” with are not your friends. What is the big draw of a Tweet-up? The only reason I’d consider going to one is to put faces to the funny tweets that entertain me in my idle time.

    Why not cut down on the amount of Tweet-ups you attend and spend more quality time with the people you care about most in your life. You’ll find that time much more rewarding. Just a thought.

    1. Hi Marcus – thanks for commenting!

      First, ‘networking’ means different things to different people. I’m not a ‘business’ person, so ‘networking’ to me, just means being in the same space as others who do what I do. I mix, I mingle, I share ideas. I connect with others who have the same skill set or a variable one. So, ‘networking’ for me is more low key and friendly, but its not that way for everyone.

      Also, as my fellow higher ed Tweeps can attest, I love my higher ed network. They are the people I hang out with. They’re warm and kind, helpful and humble. Without them I’d not have learned as much as fast as I have. So, for me, generally, staying in my genre (higher ed, non-profit, education) generally I love the people and the so called ‘networking’. Its when I venture into the ‘business people’ realm that I crash and burn.

      Thanks for your opinion. Its great to hear from someone outside of my genre sometimes. :)

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