This is David. He lives in Berlin. He’s the community manager at SoundCloud. We share a similar taste in music and before I moved to California a few months back, a similarly hectic travel schedule. We’ve known each other for a couple years but we’ve never met.
Let me back up. A few years ago I noticed my friends reblogging some of the music that David was posting on Tumblr. Shortly after I noticed that David was liking and reblogging some of my posts as well. So I followed him back. I got to know David through his posts. We had a a lot in common and liked each other’s style. A few weeks ago we bumped into each other at Tumblr HQ and made plans to meet up on his trip upcoming trip to San Francisco. Tuesday we ate at my favorite lunch spot, Fog City Diner, and talked like we were old friends. Because we were.
I struck up a similar relationship on Twitter two years ago. I was using an iPhone app called Runkeeper and posted a question about it to Twitter. The RunKeeper account on Twitter replied with the answer. I posted another question a few days later with the same results. I gave @runkeeper a follow. I was really impressed with how they managed their community on Twitter by encouraging existing users to answer the questions of new users. I liked how they operated so when the founder reached out for advice, well, the rest is history.
Services like Twitter and Tumblr are brimming with a wide range of interesting people saying interesting, funny or provacative things. If I’m intrigued by what they have to say, I follow them. If I lose interest or find their signal too weak to overcome their noise, I unfollow them. Mitch Kapor, once described this shared behavior of following and unfollowing people on Twitter as tuning his information drip. I like that.
These tools, that some dismiss as as waste of time, have proven to be a great resource for exposing us to ideas that we’re interested in. They amplify trends we’re tracking and markets as they move. But, most importantly, they give us rich context for the people behind them.
Over the last month or so I’ve had more and more experiences of meeting people IRL that I follow across these services. Each time, we have a deep well of context to draw our conversations from. They’re rich and meaningful interactions. If I follow you on Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare or Instagram you have an open invitation for lunch at the Fog City Diner anytime you’re in town.