Real Virtual-Neighbours Are The Best Kind

Having a virtual way to interact with virtual neighbours is fun, but having a real place to meet, mingle, and chat with virtual neighbours is even better.

In the neighbourhood where I live, Junction (#JunctionTO), there is one local cafe that I enjoy going to almost daily now as I try to be productive in getting reading, writing and coding done as much as possible. Crema Coffee (@CremaTO) has been writing about by many Toronto publications and makes some of the best coffee in Toronto. For a year I went there and it was great, less than five minutes away from my house and a great place to go to study and do school work, code, or write.

Thanks to the main-streaming of Twitter however, this spot grew into a much more import part of my neighbourhood. During spring of 2009 I started to notice that some neighbourhood locals had begun to adopt Twitter. Not just local web developers or freelancers either, stay at home moms with kids, local teachers, and many of the local businesses themselves starting creating Twitter accounts and put up Facebook Fan Pages. Jump ahead 10 months and what am I lucky enough to experience almost every time I walk north to Dundas Street West?

  • People I were just replying to on Twitter five minutes earlier.
  • Seeing people at the cafe as they grab their morning coffee on the way to work, and then continuing the conversation with them throughout the day.
  • Getting into a discussion with the owner of the cafe about links and happenings linked to from Facebook.
  • Pinging people in the neighbourhood to see who’s up for coffee or Pho then seeing them 10 minutes later.
  • Building relationships with the baristas because they also are on Twitter and enjoy chatting with patrons who are online.
  • Local Tweet-ups. Not run because someone famous from out of town has come, or because there is a conference that is going on, just because people from the neighbourhood want an excuse to go to the local bar and drink and chat with people. There are few things better I’ve gotten out of Twitter than this.

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