It is surprising to me how many times I have made an idea-related connection with another human being on Twitter, formed some sort of “friendship” with them online, and only much later have the chance to meet them in person.
I can think of a dozen or so people that I would consider friends which I first got to know this way… in some cases years passed between first knowing them and meeting them.
To me, this is interesting because conventional wisdom would say one of the following is true:
- Social media isolates people.
- Social media helps people connect with people they already know.
- Social media connects people with other weirdos that they never actually meet.
My experience is a lot of #2 and some #3. My experience of making new friends over Twitter before ever meeting them doesn’t fit into any of those three buckets. I find that exciting. (Yes, I realize that this only works for me because I live in the very center of the bay area tech scene, but by god I love it.)
Now, whenever I run across someone new on Twitter that is interesting or inspiring to me, I like to think of them as just another friend that I haven’t met yet.