Last night I attended a local event that my friend Adam Walker Cleaveland had been bugging me to attend for some time. He and two other folks, Chris Riley (who I knew casually) and Nicole Nicolay (“Nik Nik”) have been holding a “Tri-Valley Tweetup” gathering every month for a while. The only excuse to gather is that we all use Twitter, and I think that’s a pretty loose requirement that’s easily forgiven if you don’t. I’ve been to many mixers and get-togethers, and I even run my own SEO meetup group every month. I actually like hanging out with people who have similar interests.

But these Tweetups always seem to be on an evening when something’s going on. So I just couldn’t get there. I realized yesterday that, “Sheesh, I’m going home to an empty home after work.” My wife is out of town, and my step-daughter was going to her Dad’s house. So what the heck? I have nothing better going on.

Tri-Valley Tweetup at Tenuta

Tri-Valley Tweetup and barrel tasting at Tenuta Winery

The Tweetup was being sponsored by and held at one of the local Livermore wineries, Tenuta Winery. (Later I learned that it’s the third largest in the Livermore Valley!) I got there and a couple of my other networking buds were there, June Sablan and Alice Jones – hadn’t seen them in a while, so cool: friendly faces at least.

As others gathered there, we grew to perhaps twenty people. All of us are intensely interested in social media, connecting online, blogging, and well, tweeting. Of course the fact that Rich Rollins from Tenuta was taking us on a tour and dipping wine directly from the barrels for us to taste sure didn’t hurt either.

One of my new-found friends is Sarah Kay Hoffman, and she almost instantly posted a blog about our gathering, complete with photos and videos of Rich, Adam and Butter the Vineyard Cat.

One of Sarah’s comments really struck me: “It’s when you take the ‘online’ to the ‘offline’ when Social Media is even more effective!” That small statement is so poignant and profound. So many of us spend an awful lot of time in our cubes, offices, and fuzzy slippers, banging away at the keyboard to communicate to the untold and unseen masses across the globe. Many of the people I communicate with I haven’t seen in decades – or ever.

But it’s when we as humans come together in a common setting with no agenda, just to hang, it’s when we really turn the “social media” into something “social”. I can honestly say that I’m sorry I haven’t been to any of the previous Tweetups. I had a great time seeing old friends and making new friends. It was truly a joy to just hang out and talk about random things from iPads to what we do for a living.

And no, we didn’t sit around and tweet to each other either. We actually used the spoken word.

Thus the online social connections turned offline, and business cards were exchanged here and there.