I took part in an interesting phenomenon today. I was riding the light rail home from work when I checked Twitter using Twidroid on my T-Mobile G1 with Google. An update suddenly appeared from Sheila Bocchine (sheilabocchine on Twitter and daisyjellybean on Flickr) that read, “I have all the necessary paperwork for my visa complete!! Yay!! Now for lunch at Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe!!”
I’ve wanted to try Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe for a couple of years now, and I’ve seen it many times lately while passing it on the eastbound train on Jefferson at 8th Street. I just happened to be on Washington and 24th Street when I read her latest tweet, so I was only blocks away from the restaurant. I sent her a direct message saying, “Like company for lunch? I’m on the Metro in that direction right now! =)”. I didn’t hear back right away, so I sent another, “I am at 12th st & Washington right now”, and finally, “I got off the train. If now’s not a good time, I can get the next one.” Luckily, I got a direct message from her as I stood on the station platform that said, “come on over!! We just ordered!” Thus we had a spontaneous Tweetup.
This is one of the things Twitter is good for. I haven’t seen Sheila in person in a long time, and I’ve never met her man Gary Millard (garymillard on Twitter and garymillard13 on Flickr). I would never have known she were going to a restaurant near me if I hadn’t read her update on Twitter. I’ve long admired Sheila for showing her photos in galleries, and I was able to pick her brain a bit about how she does that. She gave me some good pointers to follow up on. I hope I added value to her day as well. I believe that spending time with people has benefits we can’t even see at the time and sometimes do not realize until years later. And I also believe that there are values to socializing that cannot be measured, so our coming together spontaneously like this was a good thing in ways we may never know.
Have you ever participated in spontaneous meetups like this? How have you harnessed technology to enhance your social life? I’d like to hear other people’s experience with either Twitter or any other technology that has brought them together with other people.