I like Maine, I really do. I enjoy the varied geography and its mix of craggy coastline and towering peaks. Sometimes, though, the state does feel like a backwater. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, although I’m sure that’s how it looks reading it.
If you work in Portland, or the city is your creative playground, you might not realize how different the rest of the state is from your personal culture club cozied up to Casco Bay. In Maine, it is the Mecca; the Alpha and the Omega—a veritable cornucopia of hipness, food, and places to go every night of the week. People from outside Maine know what a great place it is, even people at The New York Times.
Maine is vastly different even 35 minutes outside of the city. I love the city, which compared to bigger, more urban areas, is really more like a town. But for Maine, and even nationally, Portland is a unique small city, packing a substantial wallop on many levels.
For most of the past 6-7 years, my work hasn’t been centered in southern Maine, so midweek visits to Portland haven’t usually been part of the plan. Occasional Friday night happy hours, or weekend dinner and movie nights get me and my better half into the city. Of course for her (she works in greater-Portland), at the end of long sales day, she’s anxious to head north for the haven of the Baumer compound.
Tonight will be different for me. It’s the monthly Maine Tweetup.
I’ve known about these for awhile. I’m not sure why I’ve never gone. Sometimes it does seem like if you’re not networked into Portland, or you don’t know some of the local social media rock stars, you’re running the risk of a bad networking experience. I do so damn much networking that sometimes I’m just networked out, too.
One thing I’m anticipating is being in a room where everyone knows what Twitter is, the attendees embrace it, and use it regularly. In fact, they’ll probably be tweeting away in a few hours at El Rayo Cantina on York Street.
I have a few names (tweeps) in mind that I hope to meet and at least say “hello” to. Perhaps I’ll even make a few new connections.
Oh, and if you’re reading and you still don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, here’s two Urban Dictionary definitions of “tweetup”:
1. An organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter. (A meet up of people that ‘tweet’ using Twitter.)
2. A gathering of nerds attempting social contact, likely for the first time. Usually disintegrates into everyone running to the nearest computer to type to one another.
What I hope is that it’s more #1, rather than, #2; only time will tell if tonight is vastly different from the cliquey quality of most other biz after-hours that I attend.