I took a huge leap of faith in July 2009 to move to Middletown, NJ leaving all of my friends behind. I went from a strong social network to having to meet people at work and knowing two people outside of it. Man, is it intimidating not knowing anybody everywhere you go. I never stayed home on a Friday or Saturday night before I moved, and now that’s a pretty typical weekend. Not knowing anyone left me with no choice but to get over it; to get to know people in new and different ways. I used to be pretty shy which is easy to get away with when I was constantly insulated by a comfort zone of people.
The inspiration for blogging and creating a Twitter account for the hotel came from a joint seminar hosted by MODC and JSPRAA last November where Deborah L. Smith gave a presentation on Social Media and it was enough to rocket me into action. She used examples of @eatontownbb and @funkychunks and all of the great things they were accomplishing on Twitter by engaging with people. I left that event and the hotel had a Twitter account by that afternoon that I wasn’t afraid to use. It hasn’t been any more of a drain on my time or efforts than any other arm of marketing would be. There was no reason to be timid.
I have met and connected with so many great people through Twitter. I can’t say enough good things about it, which is why I wanted to write this post to express some gratitude. Every time I’ve actually met one of them in person, it was like catching up with an old friend. If you don’t know them already, consider this your official introduction. This is the “LongTweets” version of #FF. They are fine folks that I am quite proud to know:
@RedBankLimo Bill’s face was always popping up in my (at the time very small) Twitter stream. He was always out there with a fun message. At the hotel we were getting frequent requests for airport transportation and because I was seeing his face, he was top of mind. I sent him a direct message and we sat down together a few days later. Now we talk at least once a week to use each other as a sounding board, share a geeky idea or brainstorm on how to help organizations we’re passionate about. Bill has really been a great mentor to me and has steered me on who’s who in the zoo so to speak
@KeyportIHOP Cliff and I connected through the simple need of a place to send our guests on their way out-of-town or in a snow storm when there was nowhere to eat. We met through Twitter many months before real life, and much like Bill we talk marketing and social strategies and how to help each other. We have a wonderful reciprocal relationship.
@Locallylove, She so gets it. She is relevant, shares great content and doesn’t overshare. Plus she’s just a plain nice person to talk with and share a laugh, lots of them (remember the hot pink mustache for your car???) or hardship. If you’re new to Twitter & want to learn, Allyson is your prime example.
@JerseyShoreTog fills my feed with pretty pictures and kind words. Never shy though about busting my chops, Scott keeps me on my toes. When I’m awake at 3:00am for an eclipse or 5:30 am because I can’t sleep from all the snoring, he keeps me company and makes me laugh.
@JMediaMaven Joanna is another one of my early follows. She’s always having fun whether it’s tweeting song lyrics, funny quotes or her foursquare check-ins. Networking events are always that much more fun she’s there and I can live vicariously through her fun other times.
@Sweetsoaps Ellen is another person that totally gets Twitter and you can just tell that she’s totally enjoying doing what she’s doing. She’s very amusing and uses her sense of humor to market her soap business. She has downright cracked me up on many occasions.
@Passionworks Besides running an organization that aids the homeless, Chuck is just a great person. He’s very funny, has excellent timing and came to my rescue one evening after a WordPress induced meltdown. His use of social media has raised a ton of awareness for homeless issues. (Consider visiting Passionworks website and donating a $1 to their “Buck-It” program.)
@ShoreFlicks TJ is one of my very early follows and he has such an easy going and witty personality. His parents even stayed with us last year when the power was out in Middletown. When he travels to RaChaCha I have a virtual garbage plate from Nick Tahou’s every time. TJ was one of the first tweeps I met in person, having my picture as the avatar helped in that. We were both at a networking event sometime in the early spring and spent some time hanging with the very funny @CraigMahoney.
@InklingMedia All it took was a RT and an hour later I was on the phone with the socially savvy Ken aka @kmueller62. We raved about social media; how it works for business (I totally owe him a blog post!). He has been great to connect with and I use him as a resource for many of my social media questions. Most of them revolve around my paranoia and he has given me my own Facebook Group “Paranoid Chicks from New Jersey”. As difficult as he makes it, I have been trying to ignore the fact that he is an avid Phillies fan. He’s lucky his other qualities balance that out.
@lgesin Laura always has great info, comes up with cool graphics and always seems to be on some sort of adventure or fun project. I find myself very often agreeing with her random thoughts.
@cortland I enjoy talking with Cort every time I see him. Whether it’s about social media, marketing, Dead shows or blueberry vodka it’s always a good time.
@robotictom it sounds funny to say I bonded with someone over the weather but I’m pretty sure that’s how Tom and I started talking. Hurrilame Earl, the hurricane that never was. Tom has a great retail blog No Turn On Red and tweets cool info on the local area with a focus on Red Bank. We share a lot of the same interests and live in the same town so the conversation flows pretty easily
Speaking of bonding through the weather @nynjpaweather has turned into a great tweep especially if you’re totally into the weather like me. He sends me advance warning when it is not advisable to be wearing a dress made of light material after I tweeted about a Long Branch wind induced mishap.
@ShoreThingDuo Chris tweets out links to the Ustream feed when his band (duo) plays at Basil T’s and I can listen in my kitchen That’s so cool. Plus, he’s fun to talk to, has funny stories (the ones he remembers anyway) and everything in his house snores too so he’s awake at those weird hours to have a conversation about earplugs.
This is just sampling of the great folks I’ve met through social media the last year. The lead referral source for traffic on my blog is in fact Twitter. Thank you all for your support, retweets and great conversations. I couldn’t get everyone in here for many time and space reasons but I really enjoy interacting with you all. Thank you for making New Jersey feel like home. Have a very safe and Happy Holiday.
***added 7.8.11 Just one more before I go… @realestatechick is hilarious – her tweets always make me laugh. She had me early with a tweet about “Buffalo Bump-Its”! Who knew there were buffalo in New Jersey. As I say my goodbyes to my time at the Comfort Inn Middletown, this post is just as meaningful to me today as it was 7 months ago when I wrote it. Thank you again everyone.