An essential part of using Twitter for professional growth is looking for opportunities when you can move online interactions to in-person meetings.
This is one of the best things about Twitter! Of course it’s a privilege reserved for those of us who live in (or travel to) bigger cities. But I would highly recommend it. I’ve met up with people from Twitter maybe ~three dozen times and never once had a bad experience. A few “meh” experiences, sure, but nothing outright negative.Kevin Simler (@KevinSimler), software, data, and automation, Hexagon Bio, author*
Meeting Online Friends
When I move cities Twitter is the best way to make new friends. A tweet leads to a couple hundred meetings. So it solves the loneliness problem for me.Sahil Lavingia (@shl), founder and CEO, Gumroad*
These meetings are with people you’ve had repeated interactions with online over tweets or DMs and who you’re very familiar with. Don’t be afraid to initiate these 1:1 interactions and suggest a casual meeting over coffee or invite them to an event you’re already attending! This can also be a good practice when you’re traveling to a new city. Reaching out to people to move from online to offline can be daunting, and starting with online friends can help break the ice.
Sometimes people reach out to me, sometimes I reach out to them. Usually we already have a pretty consistent basis of mutual interaction online—we follow each other, we like each other’s tweets, we’ve replied to each other. A lot of the people from IRL Society are from Twitter.Jackie Luo (@jackiehluo), software engineer, Square
Small Community Gatherings
If there’s a small or large web of people you find yourself interacting with, and who interact with one another, suggest a meetup.
Reaching Out to Potential Collaborators
The great part of the platform is you can have banter with people you know have similar interests before you move to the private DMs. This makes the transition much more natural. I usually will reach out after a few back-and-forths on something on the platform, DM them and say I think they have interesting thoughts on X topic we bantered about, and if they’d be open to chatting more over a coffee. This has an incredibly high success rate and has helped me more professionally and personally than anything else in my life.Nikhil Krishnan (@nikillinit), Strategic Partnerships Manager, TrialSpark*
Seek out and message people who are playing infinite games and whom you can envision working with long-term.
Danielle Morrill (GM, Melato @ GitLab) and Andy Sparks (Co-Founder and CEO, Holloway), previously founded Mattermark together as a result of meeting online.
Rather than scouring Eventbrite or Google for interesting events to attend, take note of the events mentioned by some of the people who follow you or whom you follow. Attend events and conferences based on where you know interesting people you follow will attend or speak at.
Meeting Twitter Folks at Events
Before and during the event, add the conference tag to your username so it’s simpler for people to invite you to meet in person at the event and vice-versa.
“I literally just DM people to hang out. If I’m traveling I’ll do an open announcement, modify my twitter name to say ‘Visa in City Aug 5–16’ or something like that. Mutuals tend to hit me up if they’re traveling to Singapore, where I am.” —Visakan Veerasamy (@visakanv), co-founder, JIBABOM!
Meeting Complete Strangers
People may reach out to you about meeting when you’re not familiar with them. For instance, a student or new grad seeking advice over coffee. Always assess risk even if offers to meet feel harmless and non-threatening.
danger While many people have amazing experiences with meeting online friends, there’s always the risk of crossing paths with people who are nothing like they appear to be online and who may be truly dangerous. Exercise caution when meeting up with people you don’t know. Always default to meeting in public spaces and be incredibly cautious when it comes to disclosing your address, where you’re staying if you’re traveling, or meeting at your home.
Twitter can be an amazing tool for professional growth, but it can be a dangerous place, too, and we know that the risks keep a lot of people off the platform altogether. We’re releasing this excerpt first because it’s important to recognize that it isn’t all upside. The platform is getting increasingly polarizing with more people finding themselves on the receiving end of harsh criticism, personal attacks, and harassment. This resource can help ensure that your time on the platform is as safe as possible, for your own physical and mental health, that of your followers, and for your career.
This section will answer questions like:
“Is it safe to engage with your critics on Twitter?”
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