Even those of you not familiar with social media, may indeed have heard of Twitter. Whenever I speak to people who actually live their lives in the physical world, I get one of two responses when someone brings up Twitter. The first includes rolling of the eyes, a head lean and the slight pursing of the lips as if to say, “Why would you waste your time with that ridiculous time suck?”. The second is an almost embarrassed look-away glance, a widening of the eyes accompanied by a pressing of the lips and an involuntary widening of the cheeks, usually associated with hearing something naughty and not quite wanting to admit it.
Twittering, after all, may have a completely different meaning in other social circles.
In reality, Twitter is definitely a time suck and, as my cousin says related to Facebook, can make the most organized and productive person feel completely wasteful and feckless. That said, I find that the most valuable moment of Twittering, or any other social network, is when the Twitter world meets the physical world in the form of a Tweet-up.
A Tweet-up is as it sounds an opportunity for Twitterers to meet in person without the need for hash tags (#hashtags) to follow along with the conversation, although at many Tweet-ups twitterers will physically be engaged in a live conversation while simultaneously texting what they are saying and hearing to online Twitterers who couldn’t be present. Yes, it’s one of the very bizarre features of microblogging that if you can’t attend a meeting or an event, there will undoubtedly be people there who will take and publish notes for you live that you can follow from the comfort of your house while watching the season finale of Dexter.
This past weekend, we had a running Tweet-up in Sleepy Hollow, NY about 30 miles north of Manhattan along the Hudson River. Now follow along with me. It was started by @jackievny who lives in the area letting us know she and her husband – a non-Twitter user – Drew (come on, can I please anoint you with @drew?) were planning on running 20 miles and asked if anyone wanted to keep them company for some or all of the run. @coachadam (that’ me) responded, “sure”, followed shortly by @jg_65, @philliplavoie, and lastly by @billrisch (who later flaked out because, well, because he’s @billrisch). We were after all, planning on running at Rockefeller Park (not to be confused with @rockefellerpark or @rockies) which is the absolute best place to run in the Metro New York area.
Now you might think that tweeting and running have nothing in common, with one being performed by introverted face-made-for-podcasting techno-geeks and the other by lean, athletic and health conscious folks who crave being outside and disconnected from THE MACHINE. @steverunner uses the term couch of doom, but I’m fairly confident that the machine of doom is a much more realistic threat to our health and waist size. Just ask @fitnessrocks.
Cycling and triathlon, on the other hand, are much more inclined to twitterers. Why? Because you have a stem onto which you can mount your crackberry and you can tweet or group tweet with a single hand during those long tedious multi-hour base building rides.
Still not convinced? Not ready to join the tweeting masses who daily and mindlessly provide answers to the question “What are you doing?” Well then perhaps there’s one person who can help you to change your mind. The next time you find yourself tickling the keys to your laptop in contemplation of being drawn to the dark side, pop on long enough to send a DM or an @tweet to @lancearmstrong. Seriously, even @texafornia‘s wife Emily is provided with 140 full characters there to profess her undying love.
But I digressâ€¦