I don’t remember why I began using Twitter, I couldn’t tell you who I followed or what I was even tweeting about. I remember the first tango with the social media whirlwind was with Yelp. I met people, tried new places that I never been to before (a feat that becomes increasingly difficult with every passing year spent in Chicago), and learned how to navigate through the landscape. I’ve made lots of friends from social media, and I don’t mind saying that because you can’t do that unless you’ve got an open mind and a taste for ideas and experiences that are not your own.
Yes, I remember my first tweetup. It was @FaithandWhiskey, I had just finished some delicious pho’ with @TheAW1 and @cassidycody and we all hurried down to check what the tweetup was about. One friend who wasn’t with us wouldn’t go because the idea of going to a tweetup hosted by someone called @AccidentallySxy didn’t seem like his scene. I think all three of us were very confused because we didn’t know anyone and there’s nothing worse than sticking out in a crowd of people who all knew each other (or did they?).
I remember meeting @ErnestWilkins, dressed in a slick suit with the classic glasses he was human hurricane meeting and greeting and hosting. He gave me the RedEye Royalty tweetup pin and I gladly accepted. My friends got very tired of the scene and didn’t want to meet so after twenty minutes or so we all left and went off to the next party. Being pulled away from something you want to see and investigate can be frustrating but I’m never one to hold friends hostage.
I did not quit the Twitter game that night. I kept tweeting and discovered more Tweetups and eventually ran the Chiditarod with @ErnestWilkins and @hankbausch a month later. Coincidentally, @Henjealy revealed herself to be a trash-talking machine throughout the whole race and I found myself a whole new branch of people to talk to on Twitter.
One Saturday night I found myself at the Chicago Theatre after my friends disgracefully bailed out on the noontime scavenger hunt to get the On Location badge on Foursquare. This time I decided to go alone because I wasn’t going to have people keep me from doing what I do best: meeting people!
It was an awkward time, I met one guy there who did not know what a Tweetup was and had never used Twitter in his entire life. I had just started The Chicago Bucket List and pulled out my trusty notebook to ask his ideas on what he thought would be things to do before leaving Chicago for good.
“Pay down some debts, that’s definitely what I would do,” he said.
My eyebrow raised but I nodded in agreement and said that it was a great idea. That guy soon left and I was left to my own devices trying some free @baomouth baos while drinking a Honkers Ale. As it was my luck, I had competed in the MBA Cup the previous fall and met a schoolmate who worked for Metromix. As it so happened, she was at the Tweetup and kindly introduced me to @crushgear and several more of her colleagues even though she didn’t have to.
In some ways, I reflect on that moment as a pivotal inflection point on Twitter, tweetups, and the social media universe. There it was that one person I personally knew introduced me to people I virtually knew who then introduced me to more people and I watched right before my eyes the giant multiplier effect like neurons transmitting at the speed of light. A week later I found myself inducted into RedEye Royalty, my new social media crew that never fought and never had time for drama. It was a great time getting to know the legends of RedEye Royalty.
It’s been a great year and I’ve had many a good time with my RedEye Royalty crew having great dim sum brunches, Sunday fundays, and of course the obligatory barbecue. Some days I find myself hanging out with RedEye Royalty and often forget how we even know each other because in reality it was all the brainchild of little miss @crushgear to create her own personal army of social media brand ambassadors diverse as there are colors under the sun. @crushgear’s long gone and we miss her dearly for forging something out of nothing. As the days of this blog come to an end so too do my words fade like etchings in the sand but one thing’s certain: I’ve made some great friends and have had some damn good times.
Tags: redeye royalty