Early Twitter was amazing for social community building—the absolute golden era of social media, imo.

I was reminded of that when I ran across some photos from a coworking space’s anniversary event that happened 14 years ago today.

Here’s a photo of about half of our #cwmn group—aka, Co-Working Monday Nights—which was just a dozen of us who had self-organized on twitter to show up at a particular coffeeshop after dinner every Monday to get some work done while also getting in some social time.

It was one of many social groups that formed here in Phoenix via twitter in those early years—back when it was primarily used for social purposes, not content distribution, newsmaking, doomscrolling, or mindless entertainment.

These “tweetups” were free and open to the public, and you generally introduced yourself by your twitter handle, not your actual name (unless your handle was, say, “rscottjones”).1 The only real thing that connected us together was primarily that we, well, used twitter and lived in metro Phoenix and were willing to meet other people who did too. You just ran across a tweet about something and decided, yeah, sure I’ll go to that.

There was #smunch, a monthly Saturday morning brunch that often took over smaller restaurants. And a series of Phoenix Friday Nights get togethers scattered across the Valley, including #dtfn (Downtown Friday Night), #evfn (East Valley Friday Night), #wvfn (West Valley Friday Night), and #nvfn (North Valley Friday Night). I co-hosted that last one, #nvfn, with someone I met at a monthly #smcphx gathering (yep, another tweetup). #FirstFriday gathered twitter users each month for Phoenix’s art walk. And #NightOwls, a #cwmn-like event held at the coworking space this photo was taken at. I also participated in #commpose, which was organized by copywriters but seemed to focus on writing in general. There were also plenty of one-time or irregular events, such as the charity event #Twestival, plus other minor get-togethers that were advertised nearly exclusively via twitter.

I met soooo many people during those events, many of whom have remained dear friends—people I truly love. It was a big personal stretch for me to just show up to random events where I knew no one, but there was such a welcoming vibe at each of them that any initial angst disappeared almost immediately.

I miss those times.

  1. It’s funny how those usernames have stuck. I was texting with @design_gal and @clowerpower this morning, and am grabbing bbq breakfast tacos with @wayneswhirled tomorrow morning.ngr) ↩︎