To Tweet or Meet?

14 Nov

“We should meet up for drinks..” a phrase I have heard quite a few times on Twitter in my 5 months as @MrsRuralSgt.

As I was growing up, I was fortunate to have good, caring parents who taught me about the perils of ‘speaking to strangers’. As a parent now, I put a lot of effort into making sure that our eldest knows the dangers of the internet and speaking to people he doesn’t know. Yet here I am speaking daily with lots of people I have never met. Obviously, I can trust myself and @RuralSgt to be aware and to recognise signs of things to avoid.  However, the whole concept, has given me food for thought.

We decided to open our Twitter accounts, so that we could talk with other police related people, swap stories and chat freely without worrying too much about what we have said. We surprised ourselves by getting quite into it. Mr R often dips in and out, he likes to talk ‘job’ but he also enjoys the male banter and has spent many an hour laughing at tweets and ‘games’ created with some of his new ‘Twiends’ (Twitter friends!) In particular, he has enjoyed the likes of ‘Build your own Wibble’ and ‘White Sock Solidarity’ with @pcwibble, who is also a bit of a top bloke!

I tweet much more than Mr R. In fact he informed me a few days ago that he had sent a massive 59 tweets in 24hrs, I had sent 69 in 1hr! I do try not to be an addict, but when you get chatting with some fab people, you really can find support, interesting stories and best of all, have a really good giggle.

During my time on Twitter, I have discussed so many things, and spent many evenings chuckling away to myself. I don’t always get jokes (So apologies if I’m not understanding your banter at times), yet sometimes I fire off good ones with the rest of you. Some of the best Twitter chats, come from the strangest of things. Recently I’ve had loads of fun talking about dunking or not dunking biscuits (Obviously dunking is the best, @Hannamator), our child birthing experiences, naked cowboys, Salad Cream vs Mayo and being posh totty! I have looked for advice, taken advice and offered it to. I believe I’ve helped a handful of people with their problems, or certainly been an ear to listen to their worries. My point here, is that I feel like I have built friendships. It sounds odd, even to me, to write that, and it’s surreal as I have never met one single tweeter, but it’s kind of true.

I understand that not everyone is genuine; the sad fact is that we do have to exercise a certain amount of caution. I have come across a handful of things which have given me a gentle reminder of that fact. I take that as a good thing, it means that I’m trusting, but not being too naive.

Initially, the thought of meeting anyone from Twitter, terrified me! Over time, I have grown to realise that most of you ‘Tweeters’ are actually real and decent people too. You’re all very different, yet we can’t be the only ‘normal’ (whatever that is) people tweeting. So, I have taken the plunge, I’m having a tweetup!

@MrsJHx has become someone that I especially look forward to seeing on my timeline. She is funny, frank and kind. We have noticed numourous things that we have in common and have now shared information outside of Twitter too. She had suggested a meeting of some kind, on several occasions, but I wasn’t sure if I could do it, at first.

I later began to talk about another meeting with @TreeSausage, another person who I tweet with a lot, he is funny, genuine, honest and another top bloke. MrsJHx then decided to join us for a tweetup. For various reasons, we couldn’t arrange it in the near future, which is a shame, but MrsJHx has decided to come and visit me on her own. I think she is slightly crazy and very brave, but I’m now very excited about it.

So that brings me to another strange situation. I am now preparing for a ‘friend’ to come and stay with us, a friend that I have never met. My family do not know that we tweet under the alias of ‘The Rurals’ so they don’t know about her. How do I explain that I have a friend coming to stay, who they have never heard of and I ‘met’ on the internet…? That should be a funny conversation! I’m also letting a virtual stranger into our home, with our children… this seems crazy in words, but it’s become easy, because I totally trust her. We have shared enough personal information now to decide that we can do that, so we’re now taking a leap of faith and going for it!

I’m not sure how I will act when she arrives, but I’m pretty sure it will all be quite easy, if not a little strange. If it all gets too weird then I shall just sit in a different room to her and tweet her instead! So, I am a little nervous but most of all I’m quite excited about this little adventure, MrsJHx, I look forward to meeting you!

Next blog: Meeting MrsJHx

Final note: I have ‘met’ some really lovely people on Twitter, but I want to give a special thank you to just a handful, who makes me smile a lot (All for very different reasons) : @MrsJHx, @TreeSausage, @PCWibble,http://twitter.com/#!/Dipster3103, @MrsPrettyFeet, @PCLoobysBadman, @PeelersWife, @Yellowlass, @JaclynWatson, @shay16166, @KatieMagnet, @DogzDinner, @Gornal_K, @EclecticJax, @WasntMeGuv

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9 Responses to “To Tweet or Meet?”

  1. Thecustodysgt November 14, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Ive not had a tweet up yet. There are just a couple of my followers who really know who I am and as you say it’s very odd to meet up with someone you have only spoken with by tweeting.

    Years ago I got involved in an online group. The organisation itself is huge and spans the globe but I was involved with the UK division. I went to conferences and shows around the country and ended up as the director of the UK division. I gave presentations at annual trade shows at smaller events and also at the NEC. I met done wonderful people whom I otherwise would never have met. We shared enthusiasm and interest in the topic, we assisted in developing the skills of youngsters who went on to take up careers in the area we specialised in. It was very fulfilling.

    This was always me meeting up with other folks on my own. I finally took wifey to a hotel in Devon and introduced her to the people who had become my friends. She realised we weren’t all nil utters and geeks and actually a nice bunch of folks.

    The icing on the cake was a few years ago. I secretly booked us into a hotel on Jersey for our 10th wedding anniversary. A friend lived on Jersey and was keen to meet. We met at his church as he played the organ for the service – he plays beautifully and is very young compared to me. We went for lunch at the Yacht club and then sailed his fathers 37 ft yacht in St Aubins Bay afterwards. A great day and a lovely young man. I forebrain in touch and follow his career with great interest and pride as he follows his dreams. Dreams I only saw when it was far too late.

    There are many many lovely people out on the net who will be your friend and maybe more. There are those who would abuse that trust so every decision has to be tempered with common sense, safety and an escape clause if all goes wrong. It is easy to see how youngsters can get easily led astray by “the wrong sort”. Adults though are not immune. There have been a number of tweeters recently that have hoodwinked many who should know better. It’s an easy trap to fall in though if the person is credible.

    Final word is to ALWAYS TAKE CARE AND NEVER OUT YIURSELF AT RISK.

    • MrsRuralSgt November 14, 2011 at 11:13 am #

      Fantastic words, thank you Custody Sgt! Lovely stories of meeting people, I guess the world really is a big wide one, filled with a plethora of different people!

      I myself have ‘seen the light’ with so called ‘credible’ tweeters, very wise, informative comments, thank you again.

  2. Thecustodysgt November 14, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Quality typing day clearly!!!

  3. Julia November 14, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Very brave to meet up. I still find myself reluctant to engage too much via twitter. But have found that it gives me some contact with the outside world when I’m feeling restricted by husbands shifts or young children. I work with family so for me it’s about the only thing I have outside family. It’s nice to hear someone has gained friends via twitter and maybe I will try and be more outgoing in my tweeting in future

    • MrsRuralSgt November 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      Julia, it takes time to build the trust. I have been very wary in the time leading up to arranging a tweetup. I’m still wary with many many people, but that’s not a bad thing. If people are decent and trustworthy then I think they should understand why you should be wary. I have even told MrsJHx to make sure she checks us out fully – even though I know I’m alright! (Slightly crazy, I know). It’s lovely to relax a little on Twitter and engage, just be cautious still. Adults fall prey to unpleasant people too, luckily there are many many decent folk out there.

  4. :) (@KatieMagnet) November 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    That is lovely ! I am so pleased you guys are meeting and I totally understand what you mean about building up the trust. Have a great time when she comes and keep us updated xx

  5. Wendy Kerfoot (@1965Wendy) November 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Brilliant again MrsR. I only joined Twitter a couple of months ago, and still feel a bit reserved with giving out personal stuff. I’m intouch with a couple of tweeters outside of tweeter now where I’ve shared more personal info. We’ve discussed a tweetup but I’m not ready yet. I hope you and MrsH have a wonderful time (I know you will :-)) And look forward to the blog after the tweetup. xx

  6. @peelerswife November 24, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    I’m so pleased you are meeting up and I’m honored to have met all the other wives via twitter.
    If I lived in England I would do it but Mr Plod is always cautioning me and just like @CustodySgt has said there are a few numpties that spoil it for the rest just always be careful.
    Mr Plod tells me off for calling you friends because he says its a computer screen and God knows who are what is at the other end.
    All I can say is that when I was off from work earlier this year, when I was even afraid to go outside by myself due to panic attacks etc. Twitter kept me going and gave me an opportunity to be myself. I will always be grateful for all of the support and kindness shown to me and now I’m back at work I go for days without being on but I love seeing tweets even if I do not comment.
    There are too many of you to thank and I would also endorse all of the names up there but also I’d love to add @ResponseSgtWMP and of course @PFNI real sweeties who’ve become great wee mates.

    many sparkly hugs and kisses to you all xxxxxx

  7. MrsElizabethB November 30, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    There are many of you who I’d happily meet up with and have the advantage of already having had a professional meeting with one of my Twiends so I know she’s cool! I think I’m also less stressed about meeting having met Mr B via the internet as well as two really close friends and about 25 others who meet up as a group for a massive bender every year!! As long as you take care, protect yourself and your people and generally use common sense, you’ll be fine. xx

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