Off The Press
April 6, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
Come to tweetup — no nametag required
Read on while I convey a message I could otherwise encapsulate into the length of a tweet: Come to the inaugural tweetup co-hosted by The Issaquah Press at 5:30 p.m. April 14. Join other tweeps and a few reporters at the Issaquah Brewhouse, 35 W. Sunset Way.
The paper will co-host the event with Chris Pirillo, a self-proclaimed geek, cnn.com tech contributor and Eastside resident.
Bring along suggestions ideas for stories and, yes, gripes. In the meantime, look for updates — where else? — on Twitter @issaquahpress and at www.issaquahpress.com. Help spread the word to fellow Issaquah residents and other Eastsiders. R.S.V.P. to the tweetup here.
A quick primer for the uninitiated: a tweetup equals a meetup for Twitter users.The paper joined the microblogging site last July to broadcast tweets — 140 characters long and about the length of a text message — packed with headlines, breaking news and requests for story tips.
Since tweet No. 1 on July 27, more than 900 people started following the account, Pied Piper style. The followers translated to new readers, sources and ideas. And — in a more ignominious moment — a follower prompted the paper to run a correction.
In addition to a daily parade of headlines, other reporters and I tweeted through Bumbershoot, the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival, a night at the Tent City 4 homeless encampment and — just last month — the Taste Washington food-and-wine festival.
A tweetup seemed like a logical next step. Pirillo suggested the idea and my colleagues and I, intrigued, mulled the suggestion.
Before I reserved space for the tweetup, I had questions. What makes a good setting? Should guests wear nametags? What if — despite all of the cheerleading, promoting and outright begging — no guests show?
So, I turned to the doyenne of Seattle social-media meet-ups, seattlepi.com news gatherer Mónica Guzmán, for advice. Best known as the brains behind The Big Blog, Guzmán hosts informal gatherings at Seattle coffee shops every Wednesday.
The informal tweetups attract a handful of regulars and new faces from the Twitterverse.
“Part of what journalists strive for is accessibility,” Guzmán said.
Inspired by blog meetups she had hit up in the past, Guzmán traded clicks for bricks and mortar about a year and a half ago, when she asked readers to meet her at a coffee shop.
The initial outing attracted a lone guest, but he and Guzmán talked about future meetups.
My colleagues and I hope Issaquah tweetups someday turn into a regular gig, too.
I gleaned another bit of useful advice from the conversation: Nix the idea for nametags with guests’ Twitter nicknames.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.