You may be active on Twitter, but not entirely familiar with the best way to participate in a Tweetup. Here are some tips to get you ready to attend a Twitter event:
Tweetup defined. A Tweetup is typically an in person gathering of a group of people who discovered or were invited to a networking event on Twitter. Often attendees have never met in person, but have exchanged tweets or met through mutual Twitter friends. There are Tweetups for just about everyone and everything... from meeting for a chai tea latte, to discussing a shared love of blogging, to a meet and greet before an industry convention in the hopes of making connections prior to the event.
Finding a Tweetup. One of the best ways to find a local Tweetup is to search Twitter using the hashtag for your city name (such as #Chicago) along with #Tweetup. Many cities also have Tweetup accounts, such as @TweetupNYC and @DenverTweetup. Look for Tweetup profiles in your own community and be sure to follow!
Conference Tweetups. If you're traveling to a major conference, first look for Tweetups on the agenda. Also search the official event hashtag, such as #SXSW, along with #Tweetup. If you don't find a conference Tweetup, don't hesitate to set one up with someone else also attending (more on that below).
Hosting a Tweetup. If you're interested in growing your connections and haven't found quite what you're looking for at other Tweetups, consider organizing your own. It's a good idea to reach out to those on Twitter locally who share similar interests, and to give them enough time to save the date. Utilize a free service, such as Twtvite, to record who will be attending and to provide event information. Select a convenient location, one that isn't too noisy or crowded, and make a reservation. I attended an Etiquette Tweetup on a rooftop bar in Charleston... an ideal spot and free for the organizers! Don't hesitate to market the event through other social platforms as well, such as Facebook or Instagram. Often the second invitation (such as a Facebook event) will increase visibility and RSVPs.
Making the most of a Tweetup. Always be genuine, open and conversational. You'll likely be meeting new faces and may have to quickly overcome any overwhelming feelings. Prepare a few topics of conversation to keep the discussion lively. After meeting someone, ask for his or her Twitter handle to follow and keep up to date on post-event tweets. Have business cards readily available, offering them to fellow Tweetup guests at the end of the event. Remember to take a few photos of the Tweetup to share with your Twitter followers or on other social media outlets.
Your first Tweetup may feel a little intimidating, but the more you participate, the more comfortable you'll become. I've made many wonderful friends on Twitter, and would have missed out if I'd allowed my initial fear to keep me from engaging. Good Luck!
For more etiquette tips, visit Diane's blog, connect with her here on the Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.
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