How Facebook/Twitter can bring people together

Last night I had dinner with a woman that I worked with in 1999-2000. We worked on another nonprofit’s website together, often for 30+ hours a week, as volunteers. We never met. All of our interactions were by near-constant emails or phone calls. She lives in Canada. At the time I lived in Connecticut.

She ended up getting a job with a Canadian cancer organization. I’m here working for C3. We lost touch, as often happens when lives go in different directions. Months ago, she found my Facebook profile. We e-chatted a little bit to catch up.

I Twitter. I have the Facebook Twitter application set to automatically update my Facebook status when I send out a tweet. (Works great, except I usually forget that Facebook status is always “Judi is…” so sometimes those updates don’t make sense if I tweet a statement…Judi is The Sky is Blue.)

Last week I started Twittering about the fact that I was going to the Convio Summit. That fed into Facebook and she read it in her news feed. She’s here too, so we got together at last. Would we have ran into each other here anyway? Maybe, but not likely. There are over 700 people here and we have been attending completely different sessions. We never met, so we would have had to have noticed each other’s name tags by chance.

That’s what I like about Facebook. It’s huge and passive. I don’t have to think about the fact that I’m letting my friends know what’s going on in my life on the off chance one of them will be in the same place that I am. When I update my blog, I’m thinking of the audience and what I want to share. When I participate in Facebook, I’m just being. I’m just checking out movies, or reading and that act of just doing what I’m interested in is what keeps me connected to people in a way that doesn’t need me to actively engage those people who are in my life, but not day-to-day.