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Social Media’s Power to Connect the Dots — Internationally!

@PodcastSteve, Judy Lubetkin, and @ShelIsrael at Dancing Camel Pub

Steve "@PodcastSteve" Lubetkin; Judy "@MorahToMorah" Lubetkin, and Shel "@ShelIsrael" Israel together at the Dancing Camel Pub, Ha'Tasiya Street, Tel Aviv, during the Tel Aviv Beer Tweetup November 28, 2011

Editor’s Note: For 16 years, SNCR Senior Fellow Steve Lubetkin has been the “CompuSchmooze” technology columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey. This blog post is adapted from his December 2011 column, and used by permission.

Here’s another story about why it is essential for you and your business to be involved in the use of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.

During the last two weeks of November, my wife Judy and I were travelling in Israel for the first time. Our daughter Shelly was studying digital photography in Tel Aviv, and it was a good time in her five-month class schedule to go visit her. (You can see some of her photographic impressions of Tel Aviv on page 38 and page 39 in the current issue of Attitudes magazine, published by the Jewish Community Voice.)

The first Sunday of our trip, I woke up early and was checking my news feed on Facebook, and saw this post by best-selling author and SNCR Senior Fellow Shel Israel (he authored Naked Conversations with Robert Scoble, and Twitterville by himself):

 “A boardwalk run in Tel Aviv, then a quick dip into the Mediterranean. Water warm, air slightly chilly. Life is good.”

What made this intersection with Shel Israel even more ironic is that for several months I have been mentioning my daughter’s Israel excursion on Twitter and Facebook.

I often refer to Shelly as “Shelz” or “Shel,” so every time I mentioned “Shel” and “Israel” in the same social media posting, Shel Israel (the author) would get tagged, Facebook’s way of alerting you that someone wrote something about you.

He and I would have a chuckle over it via email or Twitter, but that was usually the end of it. Now, here we were, just a few miles away from each other in Tel Aviv — 6,000 miles from home (well, 9,000 for Shel, because he lives in the Bay area).

Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, I was able to contact Shel and let him know we were there and to try to get together. He was in Israel to give a presentation on social media to a public relations and marketing conference the next day. Also by chance, a Tel Aviv Twitter group was planning a party at a local beer pub to celebrate one of its members’ birthday, and they had invited Shel to be the second guest of honor. It was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up!

As I’ve noted before, Twitter is like the Citizen’s Band Radio of the Internet. People post all sorts of communications and other people monitoring them, called “followers” can react, question, share, or otherwise respond to the posting. The difference is that CB Radio only had a reach of about two miles because of radio transmitter power limitations. The reach of Twitter is global. So just like users of CB Radio, Twitter users want to make face to face connections, and organize these meetings under the name “TweetUp” – a play on “meet-up.”

The Tel Aviv Beer TweetUp took place at the Dancing Camel Pub (http://dancingcamel.com/) in a grungy industrial section of south Tel Aviv, on HaTa’asiya Street. The pub is owned by New Jersey ex-pat David Cohen, who started creating microbrew beers in Teaneck before making aliyah several years ago.

Most of the participants in the Tel Aviv Beer TweetUp (as it was called) are in the high tech industry in some capacity. Two of the organizers are senior executives at a startup company called Bizzabo (http://bizzabo.com/) that is producing a smart phone app designed to enhance the networking opportunities at conferences, events and TweetUps.

Also participating were marketers from high tech companies, like Ahuva Berger (Twitter name “@ahoova”), who does marketing and business development for a computer security firm, and independent marketing/PR consultants like Ayelet Noff (http://www.linkedin.com/in/ayelet), head of the consultancy Blonde 2.0 (and Twitter-named “@blonde20”). Ayelet is another online acquaintance I only knew through Internet-based conversations related to some virtual consulting work I had done.

Without Facebook and Twitter, we never would have known Shel was in the vicinity, nor would we have known about the TweetUp.

This is how social media can connect the dots — even six thousand miles from home! The only thing I regret is that schedules wouldn’t permit us to put Shel Israel and our own “Shelly in Israel” together for a photo.

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