THEY CALL THEMSELVES tweeps (people who tweet), a close-knit group who found each other in between the ones and zeroes of one of the country’s most popular social media landscapes. Worldwide, millions of people are using their Twitter handles, also known as @addresses, to network socially and professionally online and share educational websites, blogs and supportive messages, 140 characters at a time. Here in Marin, dozens have come together and become friends through their offline interactions. “It’s like a modern-day church in the sense of community it provides,” says the Mill Valley–based group ringleader @Sally_K. “If a group member gets sick, we find out through Twitter and someone brings them soup.”
Tweeting, of course, also fuels business success, as people use postings to drive traffic and eventually customers to their websites and blogs. “I actually grew a social media consulting business in 2009 because of Twitter,” says one of the group’s members, @iPeggy, who tweets about helpful tips and informs Twitter users about rules for using social media.
And tweeting broadens horizons by giving residents a way to reach out to like-minded people via interest or zip code searches. @dianefischler of San Rafael says this approach helped her connect with a wide variety of people she otherwise would not have found: “You feel valued and that your voice is really being heard.”
Every other month, @Sally_K helps bring the virtual aspects of social media into reality with tweetups — meetups for Twitter users at local gathering points. “We love to get together,” says @iPeggy. “It’s great to be able to hang out with the people you’ve been chatting with online.”