Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Meeting Tweeple People - Attending my first "Wonk drinks"

“I did something a little out-there and weird on Fridaynight,” I admitted to a friend on Sunday during a round of golf. “I met up witha bunch of people from Twitter for drinks.”

“That is weird,” he agreed.

“What the fuck?” Iretorted … silently (body language is 55% of communication).

It’s not weird. I only said it was to be self-deprecating anddemonstrate my insecurity and lead you into reaffirming validation that I’ddone something cool. You oblivious arsehole!*

Rewind a week or two. I’ve heard about ‘Wonk Drinks’. I don’treally know what it means but I know some interesting people I follow onTwitter, some who are even kind enough to regularly interact with me, mayattend. I think it’s based around politics. I think, given I’m all aboutpushing my comfort zone and getting out there (sometimes) perhaps I should liketo go along. So I tweet this thought, hoping someone will encourage me to go(validation). This happens. Hooray, I will ‘know’ TWO people attending.

The saying goes that Twitter is where you meet people youwant to have a drink with, and Facebook is the place you know people you want tothrow a drink at. I am finally going to properly test this theory. Welltechnically I have, and the first part passes because I’m going to a drinksevent; I am yet to throw a drink at a Facebook friend but just give me the chance…

People at work on Friday ask my weekend plans; I say nothingof the wonks the same way nobody used to talk about online dating. Plus beingbased around politics adds another level of social judgement.

I look up thedefinition of ‘wonk’. I am immediately intimidated. What have I gotten in for.Better do some reading. I don’t.

Friday 5pm rolls around and I consider my strategy. Meetingpeople is scary. A socially awkward introvert by nature, this will not bewithin my comfort zone. Hell that’s partly why I use Twitter to engage withpeople, so why am I even doing this?!

Meeting people is dangerous. The initial liberating,unshackled obscurity of not really knowing your followers, which allowsrelatively unrestrained truth – one of the great joys of Twitter – would likelybe reined in a little further. Necessarily constructed and scarcely informed illusionsof who these people are in my mind will be shattered by reality.  If these are terrible people I will leave andstart a new Twitter account in the morning. But I am still excited to go, or atleast excited to have been. And Ishould go, it’s good for me to push my boundaries.

So my strategy. Well it starts at 6pm and I figure I havetwo options – safely  early or safelylate. There is no ‘safely on time’. Early means a good half hour ahead of time,with a book to read and hoping the first attendees realise what I’m there forand take me under their wing. Assuming they are nice people, it’s an easy in.It also gives time to warm up (drink down). But I don’t know the pub set up orwhere they’ll congregate.

Late means ensuring I arrive after my known ‘tweeps’ –possibly leaving at least one of them out to dry for my own security – to ensureI have a  conversational entry point. Ihate small talk and can never think of anything to say and will likely standacross the room against the wall with a beer in one hand, pretending to use thephone with the other, figuring out how to get amongst the group in the leastembarrassing way. So really I should challenge myself and arrive on time, but Ireally don’t wanna look like a dick.

On the tram at I check the #melbwonkdrinks hash tag for anyactivity, particularly from my tweeps. It’s on. One of my friends is there, theother on the way in, just ahead of me I think. As the tram pulls up at PigdonStreet I look up and am surprised to find it has arrived at Pigdon Street, andrush towards the rear door where a man is disembarking. He looks over hisshoulder at me and I try to look like I’m not stalking him.

He looks familiar. Could he be Ross? I’ve only seen an old thumbnailpic of this guy and I don’t wanna look like a dick so I leave my earphones inand we stand in the middle of the road waiting to cross east from the tramstop. I think he’s wondering what I’m wondering. We walk towards the pub. Okay,this is probably him so … I walk ahead to save the awkwardness, especially ifwe wind up tweeting at each other.

I cross to the north side of the road and look back to seehim on his phone. A minute later my Twitter friend Ross has tweeted at me andour mutual friend Steph that he thinks he and I were standing next to eachother at the lights, both too embarrassed to ask. I look up and wait for him tocome to my side of the road and meet my first Tweep in real life.

Not weird at all!

And! Now I am entering with a friend; I have a wing man! Weenter and Steph recognises us. Wow, thank God.

We have a lovely chat that barely touches on politics earlyon. Then I meet others; some I follow, some I don’t – none follow me. Not thatthis matters, for here we are real people! And rarely do we all avoid Twitterfor so long at the same time! Many are not really what I imagined, because whatI imagined wasn’t real – especially for those without facial images online. Iwonder what those who did know of me are thinking now, compared to how I comeacross online. I should ask, but I don’t really think to.

Some of these people truly know their shit. I will notdebate these people. I will offer opinions and listen intently to a range offascinating conversations, and possibly look like a fence-sitter but I amtaking it all in, mulling it over. I could just listen while sipping on my pintall night. Such an interesting collection of “strangers”; how else does thishappen these days but for something like Twitter?

Meeting people is easy. 

Maybe not normal orusual, but it’s pretty natural,people socialising with other people around a common interest. You might evencall it healthy. Sure beats sitting alone at home glued to Masterchef.

*He’s not an arsehole, this is dramatic effect.


  1. Damn, I would have turned up. I should pay more attention to Twitter. Hopefully there will be a Part II sometime soon.

  2. There is indeed another coming up this Friday David, check out @melbwonkdrinks for regular updates. Think I'll probably be there on Friday.

  3. Thanks very much for your large information .And knowledge full description . I think it is Sus a topic that many kinds of people face many problems. thanks for this.
    meeting people,