Apr 5, 2010

Twitter life

I know that writing this makes me one of those starry-eyed late-adopter people. (What is it they say about new converts?) If you're all "I don't see the point of Twitter and I don't care to," that's totally fine. Move along. You will find this post very annoying. Guaranteed.

Most of this weekend was a direct result of Twitter.* There was a big cherry blossom party on Saturday for a group of people who all met on Twitter. It was hosted by a couple, Kerry and Mimy, who are both active users. Before we headed there, I met up with my friend Kim. I met her first on Twitter and then for the first time in real life when I spotted her sitting behind me at an event and recognized her from her avatar and from a Twitpic she had posted.

At the party, warmed by the heat of two non-stop charcoal grills, I was talking to Satoka. I knew from her posts that she spends time in Shibuya and asked if she had any suggestions for where to take some visiting friends that night. She said there was a modern Japanese bar and restaurant with microbrews that would be perfect, except that it had no sign and would be hard to find. All the better! She called the owner of the place, Cacoi, and asked if he'd be open that night. He said yes, and she asked him to keep an eye out for a group of foreigners. She told me to mention her using her Twitter handle - that's how they knew each other.

During a mass stroll through the tony neighborhood's sakura-lined river, I talked to my friend Joseph, a Brit who's involved with TEDxTokyo. I told him about my friend-I-haven't-met-yet Andrew, another Brit in Singapore who does online presentation training videos using TED Talks as a base. Joseph was one of the few people there that Jim already knew. Jim stays away from the Twitter pipe, but can't avoid getting some second-hand smoke. I pointed to Mark when we got there. "That's the guy who got stuck in traffic on the three-day weekend," I said. Jim went right over and struck up a conversation. "Sandra showed me the pictures you put up that day," Jim said to Mark. "Man, I've been there."

We said our goodbyes to the Twitter party, including Niki's whole family, up from Osaka for the event, and Theresa, who had come from Shizuoka. On the train, I checked in with Emma, my friend-I've-never-met in LA who recommended I read Pattern Recognition. I am loving the book. (I pester author William Gibson, occasionally, too, on Twitter.)

The visiting friends were waiting at Hachiko's bronze paws, just as we'd arranged on Twitter the night before. I know this will make my mother nervous, but the head of the group was a man from Romania named, as far as I knew up until a few days ago, Bluegod. (His avatar is a cartoon of a blue dog. This confuses my little brain every time.) Marius and his friends were completely lovely, as I expected from his posts. Six of us had drinks (craft beers for them, black tea ume shu for me) and seasonal takenoko and mountain vegetable tempura. They hurried to catch the last train, leaving behind a present of a book that looks great.

On Sunday, some old-fashioned offline touristing with real-life non-Twitter friends Pete and Morgan. Non-Twitter on pain of penalty; Pete has been given ultimatums about starting an account.  I parked them in a cafe (a gem, discovered simply because it's on the way home) to check out a small art exhibition. In my new constant trendquest, I asked the guy next to me if I could take a picture of his glasses. He said sure and asked how I knew about the show. Twitter.  Him too. We exchanged handles, which means I should be able to get a hold of him easily if I need follow-up info about his specs.

When I started doing reporting for Kyodo News in 1999, it was about a fifty-fifty deal whether companies would have the information we needed online or not. When I left the Tokyo Shimbun in 2008, our English language reporting was almost all done online. I imagine finding some of the feature story subjects I hunted down would be easier or the people found would be a wider pool with the added power Twitter's loose connections.

*Not Friday. Friday I went to see Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs play at Billboard Live at Tokyo Midtwon. It was great. Jim got tickets through work, and we went with a friend who is adamantly not into the world of Twits. I didn't tweet about it. Oh! Except I did find Matthew Sweet on Twitter afterwards. He pimps his handmade ceramics (!) there. I sent him a message. He hasn't replied yet.

Image credit:


Kappa no He said...

This Twittiverse thing is still surreal to me. Somehow I can meet people whom I've only shared a handful of 140-length conversations with and feel I've known them for ages; it's just Wow. And meeting you was just Wow too.


kimiecat said...

Yeees!!! I made the blog! When y'all join twitter follow me @kimiecat.

Holly said...

the world of twits.

i kind of love that.

Masi said...

Haha, seeing myself described as the "head of the group" makes me imagine a seedy yakuza undeground boss. :))

It was great meeting you Sandra, sorry to have seemed so scary in advance.

And yes, Twitter is really amazing. It is a tool for serendipity.

- Marius

Captain Craft Cook said...

Replace "twitter" each time it appears in the blog with "heroin." Not because Twitter is evil and addictive or whatever, but because it will read really funny when you follow through on all the things you planned on [heroin].

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