The Hereford Tweetup
Last Tuesday evening, I went to my first Tweetup. (Tweetup? It´s a meetup of people who use Twitter.) It was organised by Ben Kinnaird (RI Director) and Heather from OpenSure and was held at the Courtyard in Hereford. You can see some more photos here.
There were about 20 Herefordshire tweeters there and we created quite a lot of noise both at the Courtyard and on Twitter – perhaps you saw the #hfdtwtup hash tag?
The event was billed as an opportunity to get to know the people behind the avatar, and it was just that. The strange thing about Twitter is that you build relationships and have conversations with people you´ve never met. It was great to find out more about those people with the luxury of more than 140 characters to do it in! In short, it was a really interesting night and I enjoyed meeting in real life some of the funny, friendly and talented people I follow on Twitter. And judging by the tweets the following morning, I wasn´t the only one to think that. “Fab to put faces to names tonight“, “Met some great tweeters” and “great fun last night” were some of the comments.
One of the most interesting things about the night was the male to female ratio. Twitter users are 59% female and 41% male. Yet at the tweetup it was more like 80% female, 20% male. Why was that?
The conclusion we came to was a bit of a cliche: women like chatting more than men do! The tweetup was very much billed as a social evening rather than a traditional networking event – “Nothing fancy, no 60 seconds or formal networking. Just good banter with people we´d like to know better”. The general agreement was that women have no problem with that (find it a relief, even), but men find the lack of focus a bit bewildering. This was borne out by one man frankly admitting that he´d found the prospect of the evening “scary”. Happily, he´d enjoyed the evening once he got there.
It´s a tricky balance to strike. If you make a tweetup more formal, you risk making it indistinguishable from a traditional networking event. But if you don´t make it more formal, how do you attract a more equal split?