Last Friday we had a Syracuse area tweetup at the new restaurant SyrPrime. It’s on the corner of South Salina St. and Water St. It’s a beautiful basement level location, co-owned by Paul Phan and another man whose last name is Klamm. I don’t remember his first name, but his son Dan is one of my Twitter friends.

Back in 2009 I went to my very first local tweetup. For those who don’t know, a tweetup is where you have the chance to meet some of the local people you’ve had the opportunity to talk to on Twitter in some fashion. It started out very slow, with maybe 5 or 6 people the first time getting together at a joint meeting with another group whose name I can’t remember right now at the Spaghetti Warehouse, and really seemed to hit its peak last summer with around 40 people at the Bear and Bull Restaurant.

There are a few different tweetup groups that meet. There was one that was more organized that used to take place once a month at the Syracuse Tech Garden, run by Nicole and Kevin Samolis of the Events Company. They would have some networking early, then a presentation that lasted about 30 minutes, and then a bit more networking. They were also the people responsible for the wildly successful Syracuse BizBuzz conference last August, with another one coming this year in May. But that one has kind of stopped for now, and I’m not sure they’ll get another one going.

There’s a technology group that has a tweetup as well, and I’ve never gone to that one because I don’t really consider myself all that “tech.” And in the Liverpool area we had a very small one that drew 5 people at Starbucks; some folks said they wouldn’t come because it was there and they wanted to support local businesses instead; whatever I guess.

So we have the main group of folks that get together, and the main people who set it up most of the time all work for Syracuse University. That’s turning out to be a good and bad thing. The last tweetup is a good example, as the same thing happened at the previous tweetup.

They do a great job of planning, and on getting the word out. However, what seems to happen is that once their circle shows up, they go off into a corner of their own and pretty much insulate themselves from everyone else. Both times when this happened I refused to go over to that corner. The first time I pretty much sat by myself for about 10 minutes before other people joined in. This time around there were already other people I could hang with. I still didn’t like it much. It reminds me of high school cliques, and frankly, I’d think adults who talked about social media and networking in person with others they’ve met on Twitter would know better.

Another minor rant is the proliferation of the smartphones. Now, it’s not such a bad thing when one pulls it out for a quick moment to send a quick post to Twitter making sure everyone knows about it and how it’s going. What’s bad is that it becomes the focus of interaction for a long time, such that no one else can talk to you unless they also have a smartphone. It’s that kind of behavior that will keep me from buying one for a very long time.


Tracy & her cake

Still, there were good parts as well. I went with my friend Kelvin and got to talk to Scott Severance (@scottseverance), who was celebrating his birthday (I won’t say his age, but if he decides to then he can). It was also a celebration for Tracy Tillapaugh (@tracytilly) as she just started her new job at Syracuse University this week. As a matter of fact, the picture of the cake you see, which I know isn’t great, is the cake made by Jen Comfort of Nonpariels Cake, and it was wonderful.

I also got to talk for a little while with Bill Gambino (@fosterdad2) about being a foster dad, and Margaret McCormick (@mmccormickny) about foods and wine, even though I don’t drink. And I met a new lady, very pretty, named Nikki Feroni ( @nikkiferoni). And of course my friend Sunny (@sunnyinsyracuse) was there as well; she’s got the cutest face! 😉

So, I’m thinking that the next tweetup will need someone else to set up the place and time. This way, maybe there will be the opportunity to make sure everyone mingles a bit more. If it has to be me, then I’ll work on it. But we’ll see. Overall I had a good time, but it could have been much better; it has before.

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