People thought I was weird when I told them that I would be meeting some friends in Toronto, friends that I had never once met in person. "You like, met them online or something?"
Yup, that's exactly right.
Digital media (just for you, Amanda!) and Twitter in particular has given me the wonderful opportunity to reach out and connect with theatre practitioners from across the country. It's taken networking to a whole other level.
Unless they are located in Ottawa, chances are I've never met these people. We've read each other's blogs and About pages, we've had conversations at 2 a.m., and we've figured out mutual friends, but there's never been a face-to-face. The odd thing is, even though I don't "know" them in the present sense, it still feels like I "know" them, you know? Friendships that develop from 140 characters or less.
When two such wonderful people heard I was coming down to their Toronto stomping grounds, we immediately decided that it would be time to meet. In nerdy terms, we decided to have "Tweetup". It's exactly what you think it is. Twitter buddies having a meet-up.
It was awesome and exciting! I think we all felt like we were going on some sort of blind date. What should I wear? Will they like me? Will we still have stuff to talk about in person? (Answer: Black turtleneck, yes, and definitely yes!)
We had some amazing conversations about theatre and social media (sorry Amanda!). I learned a lot about the Toronto scene (including info about a company who's online presence makes me very curious), they seemed impressed with the one in Ottawa. I've got a place to stay in downtown TO whenever I go back and I may have someone willing to do new headshots for me for free. We've already started making plans to meet again.
I really do believe this is the wave of the future and that there is a lot of potential here for artistic growth and development. So far, my favorite story (and one that actually falls into my current circle of friends) is about Sterling Lynch getting his play produced in Phoenix thanks to Mare Biddle. You can listen to Dave Charest's (another person "met" through Twitter) podcast interview on that subject here.
That said, I still won't touch online dating with a ten-foot pole.
In the meantime, I leave you with some visuals from out Toronto Tweetup. Special thanks to the nice stranger at Starbucks who took our picture (also the instigator of the quote mentioned above)!
Not in this picture, but totally in our hearts - @rebeccacoleman