We talk and talk about "social media," and we talk on social media platforms, but one of the things that keeps many of us bookish types involved in social media is the fact that it can have very pleasant side effects for our actual social lives. "Twitter is making me more social!" said one of my Manhattan publishing colleagues last week. "I've gotten so jaded about events. The people I 'meet' on Twitter are so amusing and fun that I can't wait to meet them in real life."
He's on to something. At Book Expo America, the "BEA Tweetup" party was supposed to be a little get-together involving about 50 Twitter pals; the final RSVP list was over 600 (about 400 attended). It was very much a real party, too; while a few folks may have tweeted during the event, most of us were drinking, talking, and (occasionally) singing.
There have been plenty of other tiny tweetups that I know about (there are many that I don't know about, and PLENTY that I don't want to know about), from lunches to happy hours to beach dates. Given what I do, most of the real-life encounters I have with people from Twitter and Facebook are all about books.
Last Saturday night, I had a terrific real-life Twitter "summit" with two incredibly smart women who shall, for the purposes of their virtue, remain anonymous here (I'm sure anyone who follows my Twitter feed could figure out who they are). They drove to meet me at a DC restaurant where a great deal of wine and carbs were consumed and so many stories were shared that our table's gross "anecdotal value" (you could look it up; it's a real concept!) would make us millionaires if it could only be translated into cold hard cash.
For us, the best part was that we got to do something that we rarely are able to do: Spend hours and hours talking about books, reading, and writing without kids, deadlines, partners, alarm clocks, or pets interrupting us. If social media can produce real-life connections that are this much fun, it's something more than just online bells and whistles.
What has your involvement with social media (whether that's just this blog, or whether you're a full-fledged social mediaholic, like me) done for your Unabashedly Bookish life? I'd love to know.