Establish online social networks before you need them – I did!

It has been a little over two weeks since I moved to Melbourne from Sydney and the often quipped advice about establishing your online social networks before you need them has been tried, tested and a proven success. Although I did not intend to be my own case study in practice, the connections I have made via Twitter with people living in Melbourne has come to fruition in the form of many wonderful new friends, web of advice and tips about the currently windy city, and even employment. If it weren’t for the online connections I had made prior to deciding to move, I doubt I would be as happy, settled, exited or ambitious about living a fabulous Melbourne lifestyle.

The proliferation of hashtag events has introduced me to many locals from a range of ages, lifestyles, backgrounds and online experience at TweetUpMellers (#twums), @socialmelb coffee mornings on Fridays (#socialmelb) which were founded by the delightful Kate Kendall (check out her blog http://thezeitgeists.blogspot.com/), and a few catch-ups organised between new friends. All have been thoroughly enjoyed with few to no awkward moments that can often pepper (or even dominate) new meetings.

I’d like to thank for following for being such lovely, kind, intelligent and welcoming people (in no particular order): Trevor Young, David Park, Kimberley S, Tina, Lindsay, Clare (a Sydney, part-time Melb legend), Georgia, Kate, Yvonne, Ailsa, Sam, Bec, Caroline, Melissa, Nancy, Janet, Renee, George, Kim, Ben, Luke, Andy, Dinesh, Jenna, Steven, Sarah, Frances, Debra, Caitlin, Sandi, Scott, Steve, Debbie, Jimmy, Fiona, Bec, Jade, Andrew, Bambi, Kanthie,

If you’d like to find them, you’ll have to check out my list – sorry, not going through each one to hyperlink but all definitely worth finding and following.

And of course, not forgetting all the amazing Sydney people who I miss and all the Sydney events I am missing. Proud parent moment to see Jen Bishop carrying forth my #prjournolove passion with an event for PRs and Journos. I’ll be meeting with @cshawyer, @mshawyer and the lovely @sourcebottle so see if we can get a Melbourne #prjournolove meet up and running. Watch this space…

PS – I would love to be able to add photos of events and people I’ve met but alas, this is one thing I have not yet mastered or integrated into my daily life. I will try harder.

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Operation Relocation to Melbourne – Day 6 (Twums, Taxis, Theatre)

Inspections: 9, Taxis: 20, Cooked dinners: 5, new friends: heaps. This is where I stand on day six of Operation Relocation. Having been through enough apartments to now make a more informed judgement of their online descriptions I am still looking but with hope and not cluelessness. The decision is to head back to Sydney to pack and return to a short-term lease whilst I continue to look for something permanent and so I can begin working and living in Melbourne.

Whilst hunting down somewhere to live I have been lucky enough to have found some fabulous Melbourne locals who have been more than generous with their friendliness, local knowledge, advice and welcoming open arms. On Thursday night I finally met the wise, experienced and knowledgeable Trevor Young and David Park before heading on to TweetUpMellers where I had the good fortune of matching personalities with avatars and meeting some new Melbourne locals. On Friday I finally met the fabulous Kristina (aka @TinainMelbourne) for a coffee and cake at her local Pheast84 in Armadale. It turns out she is even more delightful in person.

Twitter time has translated into the face-time world with great success. Thus far, I can report that all the Tweeple whom I have met face to face have been far from disappointing and I am blown away by their openness and welcoming charm. On the way, I have also picked up a mini-bus full of exciting new Tweeple whom I am yet to meet when I get a fixed Victorian address.

I will head back to Sydney tomorrow knowing that I will return to a city of possibility and opportunity, not to a lonely and isolated beginning that can accompany relocation to a new place. And I am very much looking forward to it.

Window of opportunity

Window of opportunity

In Melbourne sussing things out and Tweeting-up

With the warnings for all Melbourne located people to leave work early to escape the wrath of the winds I was not sure whether I would make it in one piece, but the flight was smooth and conditions not as bad as I expected. Settled in with my hospitable cousin and slept well, ready for a few days of apartment inspections, meetings and Tweet-ups. So far, the value of social networks, for me, has proven to be just as golden in the physical.

This morning I had the great pleasure of meeting Kimberley Santos (aka @missgiggly) for a luxurious brunch in a charming alleyway. Firstly, aside from having the best name in the world (yes, I know that is very 12 years old of me), Kimberley is an absolute delight and I’m so glad to have met her. She is quite like her online identity and admits to ‘tweeting like I speak’. Being able to place a person behind the Tweets enriches online communication with the personal touch of familiarity. I am now even more interested in what is going on in her world via social media because she a real, tangible friend and not just and avatar.

I am hoping this translation of online to face-time is just as accurately matched for all the tweeple I am yet to meet. I will report back after my first Melbourne social media event tomorrow night, @TweetUpMellers. And of course, I am wondering if, for others, @KimberleyL matches Kimberley Lee in person…

Will Twitter prove to be the valuable social network it seems to be?

With Operation Relocation well on the way to becoming ‘case completed’ it seems that I will also be putting Twitter to the test and finding out if it really is a valuable social networking tool when translated to the physical world. My current status is that I have met one person who is currently living in Melbourne (my cousin/friend type person who I’ve known forever but not technically a cousin) but I have virtually connected with many more, at least two hands and one foot worth of counting, via online social networks. Twitter has been the star of the show thus far. So the question is, will my many wonderful online connections carry into the physical world in an equally wonderful way?

I don’t want to put pressure on any of the great tweeple whom I have great tweet with, but it will bring to light whether or not my appreciation/addiction of social media will prove to be as valuable in the physical world as I believe it will be. And it will give me a measurable case study of the value of online social networking for building a brand, me. The scale is:

  • 1 = continuing our online communication with no change.
  • 3 = improved relations from face time.
  • 5 = all my wildest dreams come true.

Whether or not it does open actual doors of opportunity or just keep the virtual gates ajar, one thing is certain – the online connections I have already made are with interesting, brilliant and beautiful people and I have only gained from participating in social networks.

To those who are still to be convinced of the value of social media, guess what, I’m getting tired of trying to convince you. Let me show you how it has already been good to me.

*Note: I must acknowledge in particular Trevor Young, Kristina Kukolja and Kimberley Santos for being such lovely and supportive Tweeple who I can’t wait to meet in person. Thank you.

Twitter behaviour – the annoying and the great

Twitter has been the most significant online social network for me thus far. The robust and explosive manner in which Twitter has grown has positioned this star performer as a big time celebrity, becoming the celebrity that celebrities use. Although, I have started to become increasingly aware of few things about Twitter that have grown from erks into annoyances into something I feel the need to vent about. Here they are:

  • Tweeple with ZERO updates and hundreds of followers
  • Tweeple who only ever RT. Ever.
  • Tweeple who stay silent for lengthy periods then blast the Twitterstream with a gazillion updates; it’s almost as though they’ve been saving them up for weeks until they can’t hold any more
  • Auto DMs when you start following someone telling you how much they’re looking forward to Tweeting with you and then never hearing anything from them

To end on a positive note, here are some of the things I’ve developed a fondness for:

  • Connecting with great tweeple who have interesting things to say about their fields of expertise / interests / life in general
  • New friendships formed based around common interests
  • Hashtags adding value to events and TV programs that would otherwise be very ordinary and mundane
  • Brilliant campaigns e.g. free Levis
  • Sharing news with like minded people who appreciate your geekiness
  • Hearing the thoughts and opinions of others in response to my own ideas; and learning and growing from these (or becoming so incensed by their idiotic response that I consider unfollowing them in protest… then I get over it and appreciate their side of the argument and politely Twitter back)

I still haven’t gotten around to finding all the Tweeple I would like to follow (the stalkerish terminology still amuses me) but I am encouraged by some of the calibre of (some) people who have found and followed me. I’m all about the value-add and relationship building. So I hope I have done this for my followers at some point. If I haven’t yet, please do let me know.