I always find interesting the way we make friends — in real life, as well as cyberspace. In either realm, I’ve noticed friends rarely fall into one encompassing group but instead spheres that only occasionally overlap.
I’ve noticed this on Twitter, where my Tweeps tend to fall into three different, almost entirely exclusive groups.
1) The Higher Ed Social Media Circle. Many are thanks to @rachelreuben, who metaphorically took my coat, handed me a drink and dragged me into the Twitter living room. Most work in higher education in various forms of Web 2.0; many are experts and bloggers and excellent resources. This is the busiest and largest group of Tweeps, where I interact with the likes of @andrewcareaga, @bradjward, @circa1978, @debrouillard, @donnajlehman, @fienen, @girlmeetsweb, @jesskry, @karinejoly, @KarlynM, @lyuda, @mherzber, @tsand and many more. I know Rachel and Donna and Lyudmilla from annual conferences, and briefly met Matt Herzberger (@mherzber) and Karine Joly at UWebD, but most I only know online. I’d like to meet more of these interesting folks, and have booked some of them to speak at this year’s SUNY CUAD conference.
2) The Xanga Group. These I know from my other blog, including @ailec, @bastetmax, @danrapp, @dianeharrington, @fern_forest, @itsjenjen, @laurakins, @Lenore_Happenstance, @mydogischelsea, @rowdeezy227, @sapphire769, @scifiknitter, @shahrazad1973, @tarkka and @thinlizzy. I’ve only met Laura (@mydogischelsea) and Naomi (@shahrazad1973) in real life, but from reading blogs and interacting, I really feel like I know many of them well. Weird, eh?
3) The Real-Life Peeps. People I made friends with from Central New York, many of whom I’ve known since before Twitter existed. Most I know through SUNY Oswego in some way, including @jlongley, @mjoyner, @phred6179, @river868, @sliebler and @tjsoundguy. This is the smallest and least active group of friends. Maybe Twitter just isn’t that big here yet?
(Granted, I also follow the likes of @BarackObama, @JohnCleese, @PeteYorn and @ZeFrank, but don’t interact with them enough to have a fourth celebrity circle. And if you read this and weren’t mentioned: Sorry, but I follow nearly 150 peeps.)
Intriguing that these groups have almost no overlapping relationships, with the exception of fellow Oswego employee @sliebler who follows many social media types. While things like Twitter can build communities where anybody can meet anyone, lots of people still stay within their own tribes. Some things never change.