Friendship in the Time of Twitter

Friday night I had some pizza and a couple drinks with friends. But these weren’t work friends or friends from college or high school, they were friends I met through Twitter due to our shared passion for travel. It was one of a dozen tweet-ups we’ve had with our Atlanta Travel Tweet-up group, and the dynamic is so unique.

Most friendships start because of being thrown together in some way, whether the two people are sitting next to each other in class, or they see each other every day at work, or they live in the same building. They usually need to have some common interests to keep the friendship going, but generally they just sort of develop organically over time due to close proximity. Some people make friends through team sports, which gives them a good base for friendship, but the closest I’ve had to that was marching band (I played clarinet in case you were wondering) in high school. I did meet my best friend Rachel there through a shared hatred of wearing ugly wool uniforms in 90F degree weather and a desire to never hear the song “You Can Call Me Al” again. (Since typing that, it’s now stuck in my head…damn it.) But last summer a few travel lovers sought out new friendships. Spencer, who writes about mental journeys as well as physical travels, was coming to Atlanta for a few days, so a few of us who knew each other only on Twitter organized a tweet-up at Fado Irish Pub. This was the birth of our tweet-up group.

Caroline was the organizer, setting up the Facebook page and the Twitter account, and coming up with ideas for our tweet-ups. We went to a local brewery, Chris Guillebeau’s book tour, and various dinners usually at restaurants with international cuisine. She recently left to go to Australia on her work/travel visa and turned the Facebook page and Twitter account over to me. I was sad to see her go, not only because I can’t quite figure out the event function on the Facebook page, but because we had fun gossiping and talking about boys.

Nick joined us from the beginning too. A self-proclaimed introvert, he can be a bit quiet at first, but I learned quickly how hilarious he truly is. Like the rest of us, he enjoys traveling and has big plans for changing his life to include more travel and not be tied down to a location. He likes to entertain us with hooker metaphors, and I always find myself laughing out loud when reading his blog.

Brandon is a social media consultant for socially conscience companies and organizations, he has an incredibly warm heart, and he’s planning a cross country road trip to Portland and beyond. He lives in an AMAZING loft (which is for sale) with great views of the city. We hung out at his place for our most recent tweet-up and spent most of the night on the roof enjoying the spring air.

Atlanta skyline

Other great people I’ve met in Atlanta: Amy and I met at a Google Travel Tweet-up last spring, and she is planning her dream vacation to Australia later this year. Jonathan and I met at the same Google Travel Tweet-up. He is a travel agent specializing in Ireland and the UK. Akila and Patrick are currently on the road and met up with us once while visiting family in the Atlanta area. I know I’m forgetting a few, but you get the idea.

We all love to travel but have different goals and different ways of traveling. We’re more intersted in each other’s future than past, and we’ve only vaguely discussed details like careers. I feel like we skipped some of that getting to know each other stuff because we already share a common passion. We don’t always do or want what most people think of as normal or traditional. Meeting these people has made me realize that I’m not alone, and that the possibilities are endless. We can relate to each other’s desire to travel the world and break convention. It’s like having a support group for travel addicts, except we encourage each other’s addiction. As I sat on the roof, I couldn’t help but smile.

Bonus points for Twitter: I met the love of my life through Twitter. Doesn’t get any better than that!