West Dorset and Tweetup could be seen as an anachronism. I’ve had a few bewildered looks when I said I was going for my first tweetup. What on earth is it anyway? Well it’s a meetup for tweeters. Simples.

“What is the agenda?” asked @LisaTandem. Good question, although I hadn’t given it much thought. I just wanted to put a real face to people I had met via Twitter; so when @tim_harrap (also known as @BritishCheese) suggested a West Dorset tweetup I tweeted great idea.

The Wild Garlic seemed the obvious place to meet since @matkiwi is a tweeter of note in the foodie twitter world and his restaurant in Beaminster was a nice and convenient venue.

He joined in the twitter spirit:
“Nice idea, coffee on me, all welcome”

So it continued with:
West Dorset tweetup Saturday 11/12 10.30, Wild Garlic in Beaminster. Coffee on @matkiwi (thanks Mat!) @tim_harrap will be there. Who else?

And ended up with @tim_harrap, @MrCliveC, @matkiwi, @natamagat (that’s me!) and @tim_harraps’ oh (other half) discussing the twittersphere over a coffee. Don’t be fooled in thinking that there are only four people tweeting in West Dorset though. There are in fact dozens of us.

Children’s plays and hangovers got in the way, many were working on Saturday morning and the rest were obviously Christmas shopping. And many more don’t follow @tim_harrap or @natamagat so had no idea this West Dorset tweetup was happening.

We all had interesting stories to tell. It would be wrong of me to divulge @MrCliveC’s thoughts on the place of the police in the 21st century. Being the Police Federation Chair for Dorset he needs to handle his 140 characters carefully despite tweeting in a personal capacity. Or indeed what @matkiwi might have to say about intense farming. He is of course against it, I hasten to add, but he had some interesting comments on how the press handle it.

@BritishCheese gave some great examples on how twitter can be used in a large company and introduced me to twitterfall. I added my bit on why journalists have not become lazy as is often perceived but rather pushed in a corner they did not choose.

We all agreed that we look for the people behind the tweets. Corporate marketing and old fashioned PR still have a long way to go in their understanding and use of social media marketing in many companies.

As for our tweetup, I’d say it was a success. We met the real people behind the @names and I’m looking forward to meeting more West Dorset tweeters at the next one. Suggestions welcome.

twitpic taken by @tim_harrap
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