The Cult of Twitter

May 14th, 2012 by CASUDI

I heard she joined a huge cult, with many followers”. This was the rumour about me when I found & joined twitter three years ago….

So, last month I headed up to Canada to meet @Nick Kellet for lunch, and at the border as usual I was asked why was I going to Canada (meet Nick Kellet for lunch), how did I know Nick (met him on Twitter.) Well, please come inside…. I was politely detained, questioned, and my car was searched! I asked the official why was saying ‘I was meeting up with someone I had met on twitter’ a red flag to her? The response I received was that ‘this was not normal’, and on top of this, driving 250 miles for lunch was even more ‘not normal’! Clearly, from their questions they were suspicious that I was up to no good, or the both of us were. Perhaps they thought I been hoodwinked by this online-Nick, on whom they quickly did a search, having verified the correct spelling of his name.

Nick shows me his second successful Start Up, “Gift Trap”. BTW he’s on his third Start Up

While watching the stream from #SOBcon recently, one noteworthy participant spoke about the tremendous support she received from the group (many she had met on twitter), and she elaborated on how her friends and family (not on twitter), simply did not comprehend her online networking and friendships; friends just as real, but with way more understanding and support of her start-up initiative. She could communicate things to her Social Media friends, which might have seemed alarming to others.

How many of you have the unique challenge of reconciling those that get the “power” of our online networks and those that don’t? Most often those not involved with the likes of Twitter? How do you reconcile what is apparently becoming two separate parts of our lives?

Or does it really matter? I know I am getting more hesitant to share what really interests me (online) these days with old friends and relatives, who are skeptical about the power of our online networking world, a world I didn’t know I was missing until I arrived there!

One thing that has worked for me in bridging the online and the offline lives I lead (note I am saying two lives :-) is ‘The Tao of Twitter’ the short, easy-read book by @MarkWSchaefer. It may not convert the reader (not convert as in not really a cult), but it does inform friends, relatives, business associates & even acquaintances, that there is a responsible business focus to online initiatives like twitter ~ it underlines what I am trying to communicate, that twitter is not a cult, but a real global networking opportunity for many of us. Needless to say I’ve totally lost touch with the former friend who started the cult rumour about me!

Will my recent lunch with Nick be a “life changing meeting” or even (god forbid) a “pivot” point? I forgot to mention I first encountered an avalanche blocking my chosen route to Canada, so had to detour and go to plan B. Maybe that’s what the ‘Cult of twitter’ is really all about; a relentless, focused journey to meeting new, interesting and enlightening people…..

When passing through the border on my return after having had lunch with Nick, I said when asked the purpose of my trip to Canada, “Oh, I was just meeting an old friend from the UK”. The ‘transparency of Real Life’….. that’s normal of course.

Please share how you reconcile your multiple lives….or if indeed you do?

CASUDI Designing Success



18 Responses to “The Cult of Twitter”

  1. Elli StGeorge Godfrey Says:

    On the face of it, it does seem strange that people can have the vibrant, give-and-take of friendship without setting eyes on one another in person. Never mind that it is likely that people may have taken the next step and connected via email or phone/Skype. For myself, I’ve met people who have become great advisors, mentors and friends.

    My friends and family do think what I do is a bit strange. And I guess I’ve chosen not to reconcile my multiple lives. I have so many roles even off-line that it doesn’t really change much.

    At the end of the day, Twitter is either something like a cocktail party (think that’s Joe (@SMSJoe) Ruiz’s definition or a networking event. Perhaps it’s something in between. It does have it’s own rules, language and behaviors. But a cult? More like a place where you can meet like-minded people and connect with them as deeply as you wish.

  2. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Exactly my take on it. You and I started on twitter (you were my 888 follower) and we moved to Skype with a continuing conversation via email and twitter DM and with a real life meeting sometime by the end of this year?

    I was interested in your saying you don’t reconcile your multiple lives, I wonder how many people just don’t. Up until I wrote this post I was still thinking this is something I ought to do ~ you know me always into cross pollinating different disciplines, chats and mindsets, but now I am looking at this all a bit differently. Your comment & continuing support greatly appreciated. Thank you Elli for visiting Designing Success.

  3. Janet Callaway Says:

    Caroline, aloha. What a great story. Glad to hear that you and Nick were able to enjoy a lunch together and that you were able to “report” seeing an old friend when you passed back through.

    It is hard to describe or rather for non=online friends to understand the relationships that can be built on twitter/social media platforms.

    Today is the first time I will be participating in LinkedInChat after far too many months. Caroline, I keep looking at the clock and checking the time because I am sooooooo looking forward to tweeting with friends on that tweetchat.

    Thanks so much for sharing your great story. Until next time, aloha. Janet

  4. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Thank you Janet for sharing exactly how you feel about the twitter chat energy. Anyone who has not experienced this spirited exchange of information is really missing something IMO, and missing the potential of the opportunities twitter presents to many of us. I’m getting a strong sense that no one is overly concerned with the fact that there are those that don’t get it, want to get it and are resistant to joining. That’s life and the culture of twitter is as though we have moved to another country with a different culture, instead of weeks at a time it might just be hours or minutes. Great to see you here on Designing Success.

  5. Maree Conway Says:

    Hi Caroline. While I’ve never driven to another country to meet a Twitter friend, probably because I can’t! :) – I’ve met several for coffee and lunch here in Melbourne.

    I’m not actively engaged in Twitter as much as I would like to be at the moment, but every time I drop in, I am amazed at what I learn, and at the interesting things lots of folks are doing. For me, Twitter is a source of inspiration, and I’m constantly amazed at how generous people are in sharing what they know and providing support if I ask for it – so your comment is most accurate: “a relentless, focused journey to meeting new, interesting and enlightening people…”.

    I don’t reconcile my Twitter life with any other lives – it’s just all part of who I am now. When people say “why?” to me, I explain what I get from Twitter, and then I figure it’s up to them to try it for themselves, or not…their loss if they don’t!

    What’s interesting from your story is another indication that what’s viewed as ‘normal’ is changing – one day, driving 250 miles for lunch will be considered normal – because the connections formed on Twitter are just as authentic as those formed in ‘real’ life.

  6. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Maree, what a fabulous surprise to find you commenting here and thank you so much for coming. I always enjoy our conversations on #futrchat and we actually should have a #futrchat conversation on the future of LUNCH. Maybe, better stated for the whole group, the future of NORMAL. My experience just shows how NORMAL has already changed for many of us. The fact that we (you and I) might communicate every day from two geographically distant locations, or every hour by twitter is certainly not NORMAL by the old standards. Two complete strangers (from old NORMAL) who have become good friends without ever meeting in Real Life (new NORMAL) and I must say I really love this new NORMAL.

    Let’s think how opportunities might unfold that we can have a real life LUNCH sometime in the not to distant future. Maybe Nick would care to join us.

  7. CathyWebSavvyPR Says:

    Caroline, very thought-provoking post. My family used to shake their heads over what I do, this online business I have created. But once I related the clients and business I have achieved through some of these connections, they began to, maybe not “get” it, but to accept it as a part of what works for me.

    I have stopped gushing about it at “normal” parties and events (non-tweet ups)- I’ve received too many responses of “why would I want to know what strangers had for lunch,” or “I have enough “real” friends, why should I care about online people.” I too used to try and “convert” people. Now if someone asks what I do I tell them, and if they are curious about Twitter and Pinterest or blogging, then I explore further.

    Although I do remember chuckling a couple of years ago when I overheard my nephew bragging about me to a couple of his friends, “my aunt has like way more than 5,000 followers on Twitter – she was in it way before it was cool.” He’s now starting a business and has asked me to teach him how to use Twitter and blogging; obviously a smart young man ;~) The media spin that early news reports put on Twitter have gotten stuck in people’s minds, and it’s a shame. In addition to the people on social media, the pool of information on just about anything is so vast, and it is often better than what I find via a search engine. I think many are missing out IMHO. Pinterest is the new “cult” because it is easier to jump into, less to learn and more intuitive. – In my pottery class, I asked whose on twitter – 2 people raised their hands, on Pinterest 10 out of 15 raised their hands.

    Until you experience it, the connections built around seeing how people interact online, in little chunks of information, over time – from days, weeks, months to years, in our case Caroline – you can’t imagine it.

    I really appreciated two of your quotes from your post: “Maybe that’s what the ‘Cult of twitter’ is really all about; a relentless, focused journey to meeting new, interesting and enlightening people…..” People fascinate me, always have. What social media sites like Twitter do, is allow people to meet those with like interests, or with certain things in common, then connect with others in a serendipitous way…over a piece of information one of them found interesting enough to share. And it doesn’t matter if they are down the street or half way across the world. Like minds…attract.

    This also rings true to me. “Two complete strangers (from old NORMAL) who have become good friends without ever meeting in Real Life (new NORMAL) and I must say I really love this new NORMAL.” There is one business contact I met through Twitter. The first time we spoke by phone we talked for three hours – in addition to our technology touch points, we found we had a love of dancing and similar tastes in music….who knew?


  8. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Thanks, Cathy, for visiting Designing Success again with another great comment. My family always thought what I was doing was strange, long before twitter! I was always into exploring the new and different, but twitter has held my interest way longer than most. That’s because of the relationships; Twitter opens up the playing field from local to global, to finding like-minded people or those so diverse and from whom we can learn so much.

    Interesting that yesterday I was telling a peer about twitter (and my peers are usually those that don’t get it with a vengeance) and what was amazing is he totally got it. I told him to get Mark’s book asap and read it to understand fast how it is used in business (which he did last night) and just now I received an email with a twitter name and follow me. I was his first follower.

    Twitter has come a long way since I joined and I do have to wonder how it will evolve.

  9. darnoc Says:

    The mainframes at the NSA’s new Utah data center are warming up in anticipation after reading your story…..kidding aside, did they ask you for your Twitter name?

  10. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Everyone was very courteous, they were careful with my AUDI and in fact said “Great Car”! We were delayed about an hour and still arrived in time for our scheduled lunch. I am sure a quick online search revealed my twitter name :-) ~ Maybe this was all about checking out my R8, and twitter was the excuse! Great to see you again Darnoc, on Designing Success.

  11. Brian Driggs Says:

    Of course they said your Audi was a great car – it is! :D

    This post is right up my alley. In fact, I’ve had the tab open for about nine hours today while I wrap up a few other pressing things. I didn’t want to lose it after opening it in my reader this morning.

    The most disappointing thing about social media is how it enables us to meet so many wonderful people it’s simply not feasible to ever meet in person. I’ve come to try balancing time with my local (US-based) family with my international family by making a point of getting out of the country every other year. No small feat on our salaries, let me tell you!

    But it’s SO worth it. Like you said, Casudi, the convenience of our digital connections makes it easy and fun, but it’s the face-to-face interaction which elevates everything to a new, unparalleled level. It’s why half the people at my wedding in Vegas back in 2007 were gearheads from We become friends online. We become family in person.

    I believe in this sort of thing very adamantly. In less than a month, my wife and I will step off a plane at Heathrow (first time in the UK for both of us).

    There’s a pretty good chance Mitsubishi UK will be meeting us at the terminal with a press car.

    We’ll be staying in a cottage on the grounds of an abbey built in 1145 belonging to a friend I’ve pretty much only spoken with via Twitter.

    We’ll be co-organizing an event with another friend I met through an online discussion forum.

    We’ll be driving across northern Europe, meeting my Dutch business partner – face-to-face – for the first time.

    And we wrap the adventure with a weekend outside Berlin at ElbeTreffen, the biggest Mitsubishi meet in Germany, where we will be reunited with our German Mitsu-Fruende whom we met back in 2010 on our last adventure.

    It’s an experience unlike anything else. Remarkable to the point of me having no reservations in saying this is a better use of my money than finishing my race car, which has been collecting dust in my garage since 2007.

    And it’s also the reason why I’m looking forward to seeing Perlita Too in person one day. To me, she’s more than a boat. She’s a kindred spirit like you and James. :)

    Technology is bringing us closer and closer together. I wonder… when we can holographically sit in the same room with each other from across the globe, will it feel the same?

  12. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Brian, you will relate to this. We are seriously planning to fly our Italian Speedboat to Italy for the big Riva celebration at the end of August on Largo Iseo. Perlita will be stowed in the nose of a 747!!! Most of our online community will be there! I can’t believe we are actually meeting the logistics expert today about CargoLux from Seattle to Milan. Total Madness, we are told by those who don’t understand the power of “online” community. Now all we have to do is figure how to get you to Italy during the once in a lifetime Riva celebration? Thanks for your continuing support as part of both the Designing Success and The Barn Find Riva communities.

  13. Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan) Says:

    I am constantly AMAZED at the wonders that Twitter has brought me in contrast to the equal fervor some of my family and friends have AGAINST even listening to me about it. I even offer a free lesson (free, because I do charge for Social Media consulting) to my closest friends and family. NONE have taken me up on it. One friend and I spent some time, side by side, on our computers and she SAW what I was talking about, but didn’t follow up and continues her life driving around and meeting friends and complaining about too much email to read and too many people sending her links.

    It’s simple. I like Chinese, you like Mexican. It’s just different strokes for different folks and I have let my evangelism just go!

    I hope to see you at #DadChat tonight, Caroline – when the inimitable Guy Kawasaki will be talking about his new book, “What the Plus!” and about being a father to four!

  14. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Thanks Bruce for visiting here. I am really curious, do your kids get it? And what about Guys’, do they get it? Maybe you can sneak in a question about this on #DadChat. I sometimes #DadChat lurk, but since I am not a Dad and don’t have kids I really feel I have no practical experience or authority to add. However I could always give an outsiders view of what I think being a Dad should be :-)

  15. Oliver (@sabistyle) Says:

    Hello Caroline,

    I was really interested to read this. Like many of your readers I have found twitter really helpful. I do laugh at those that aren’t on it/haven’t used it yet have such a strong opinion about it.

    Sure, for some, it is just about letting the world know what they had for breakfast and how much they love Justin Beiber – and good luck to them. I feel their pain when they run out of milk or someone ate the last biscuit. I get their strong desire to YELL about it.
    Is it life changing? No
    Interesting? Not terribly

    But the joy of freedom of speech is exactly that, we are free to just talk (or type, in this case)

    I am based in Australia. Twitter has allowed me unprecedented access and the opportunity to interact with other designers from around the world I have been able to learn about new products being launched and indeed get feedback on them before they ever reach my shores. I get to connect globally with like minded individuals. I have learnt so much from different people around the world. I have got to find out more about their design styles and the philosophy behind their ideas.

    I just see it as an extension to my professional and social network. Not talking to someone face to face doesn’t make what they have to say any less interesting, motivating or helpful.


  16. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Oliver, Thank you for commenting and visiting Designing Success. I agree that ever since the design community arrived on Twitter (there were not many when I started ~ Architects & Interior Designers that is) and many arrived around the time the twitter chat #Intdesignerchat community started, I have found the exposure to new product resources fabulous on Twitter. Different to you I do find it terribly interesting, but that is because I mostly hang out with the Social media, Marketing and PR types (my second career path) who of course are usually the early adopters, stretching twitter to it’s maximum “business” and relationship building potential. Check out Mark Schaefer’s book “Tao of Twitter” which I mention in my post, I think you might find much added value from Twitter.

    PS I did like your Designer website ~ very different.

  17. elizbeth traub Says:

    I am surprised every day with social media. I am not a stranger to loving people and engaging them. That has been my career, so naturally I love connecting and knowing people. At first my family thought i had turned into a computer geek. Then when my phone started hopping and buzzing they were convinced i had signed up for something not of this world.

    Now, my husband is seeing the value I am not only bringing to my own business, but to the business of others. He is slowly looking in. I sent out an olive branch several weeks ago to a guy I had started following on twitter. I watched him, read what he tweeted. Link after link. He has a very large following and imagine how surprised I was one day when he commented and retweeted what I had to say. I sent him a message and asked what he charged for his Social Media services. I thought he was east coast, he’s right in my backyard. I now meet with him once a week to learn how to do all of this. My husband now, even more onboard with social media and community. Love your story. Elizabeth

  18. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Thank you Elisabeth for visiting Designing Success for the very first time, and all because we met on #Blogchat this evening. You certainly practice what you preach! It’s just the same for me, Social Media has enabled me to do far more of what I do and love doing anyway. I do get to Portland once in awhile and will be there for #SOBcon at the end of September (I’ve already signed up) as these meetings on twitter and in comments are often the seed of a relationship which ends in a real life meeting as I did with Nick. So where would like to have lunch?

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