Meet and tweet

Jaime Brown

Topeka is moving up in the world of social networking with development of the Topeka Tweetups.

Twitter is yet another social media site, but with the added twist of allowing a person to update their every single move on a constant basis. The impending status updates are collectively known as “tweets.” The latest social venture began as a small project in 2006 and has since become a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices. The twitter Web site posts the obvious question that symbolizes Twitter’s existence, which is “what are you doing?”

Most people have never heard of the Topeka Tweetups, a group of Topekans that participate in twitter and meet up in person for social gatherings. The official Web page for the tweetups defines it as “an event where people who Twitter come together to meet in person. Normally we connect with our friends online after we have met them. At a tweetup you meet the people you might only otherwise know virtually. Like finally putting a name to a face, a tweetup is a great opportunity to really connect with the people in your network and share just a little more than 140 characters at a time.”

Of course there are those who feel the whole point of social media is to connect without actually having to meet in person. “I might go to a meeting, but I’d have to have at least one person I know go with me,” said Kevin Mitchell, a senior majoring in mass media. Some feel that meeting up would add a level of awkwardness that wouldn’t otherwise exist online. “The meetings seem like a perfect recipe for awkward situations,” said Mitchell.

“Meeting up” may not be for everyone, but if tweetups sound interesting, then it is definitely something students can check out. The Web site is A great person to contact for more information, either through e-mail or tweet, is Brandon Sheley. While he was unavailable for comment, he seems to be a large driving force for Topeka Tweetups. He is available through the tweetup Web site.

Students that are interested can rest easy if they’re concerned about what the meetings entail. The tweetup members are largely active in the surrounding Topeka community and neighboring cities. One such recent tweetup event was the 2009 Lawrence Twestival.

This event was held in large to produce proceeds for charity. The tweetups are involved in other charitable organizations, as their Web site boasts activities and causes such as “advocating for animal welfare and providing humane sheltering, pet adoptions, lost and found programs, emergency rescues, cruelty investigations, humane education, and liaison and outreach.”

Whether students are only interested in furthering their social media outreach or simply extending their friend list, the Topeka Tweetups are an interesting way of taking that next step. All social media outlets are looking to broaden their outreach and Topeka is taking a step towards the future. Christine Pfeffer, a senior art major, said, “I don’t twitter or participate much in social networking sites, but this sounds like a great way to carry past the internet and make connections in real life.”