This article originally appeared in 24hrs Vancouver on October 22, 2008.

Modern dating can be so complicated – especially when you try too hard.

How’s this for an opening line. “Hey, I started following you and checked out your blog.”

Whoa. That would put the brakes on pretty quickly in a bar, but online, when the rest of the line says: “Thanks for writing such an honest, personal blog;” it can work.

That’s the opening line Gradon Tripp used on Meg Fowler back in February, but it wasn’t really a line, he was just introducing himself via Twitter. Yes, Twitter, the place that social media superstar Robert Scoble calls “the worldwide talkshow,” where following is encouraged and active participation means blogging.

So is it surprising then, that a couple of hearts were set a flitter on Twitter?

“Everyone is used to the creepy horror stories about folks that don’t match up with their profiles, or the ‘was that even a photo of you?’ people,” says Meg. “But we started as friends, not eHarmony auditions.”

When Gradon and Meg met, they met as two people with shared interests. They chatted as friends; it didn’t have all the pressure of a “date,” since they didn’t meet on a dating site.

meg gradon

“After a few weeks of friendly back and forths, the DMs started,” Gradon writes in a blog entry called Twitter Helped Me Steal Canada’s Greatest Natural Resource. “Then IM. Eventually, phone calls. Skype. Video chat.”

“Finally, just a couple weeks ago, after 10 months of talking Meg flew to Boston and we “met” each other for the first time,” he continues. “After about 5 minutes of awkward giddiness at the airport, we were normal, as if we’d known each other for ages.”

Gradon’s post is sweet. But to really be immersed in this gushingly cute love story, you need to click back and read Meg as she chimes in on her equally romantic entry.

“See, we were comfortable in mere moments,” she writes. “Not just comfortable like you might be with an affable stranger in a lineup at a grocery store, but comfortable like I’d known him for years.”

Meg went to Boston to help Gradon with an event called Social Media for Social Change. It was a group of net savvy people trying to make a difference in the lives of others. They were using their web connections to affect change, and as they did that for others, they ended up doing it for themselves too.

“This, on a very personal scale, is the power of social media,” Gradon continues. “The tools of social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs) introduced us into each other’s worlds. It allowed us to learn and share things about one another.”

“Think social media is useless? I can honestly and confidently say social media made my life infinitely better. Thank you, Twitter.”

BLOGOSPHERE BUZZ

If you use Twitter, you’ll want to sign up for Qwitter. It’s a service that will notify you when someone unfollows you and the last thing you said that sent them off. Some say it adds a bit too much drama to the mix, I think it will let you know when you get out of line.

If Twitter dies a slow and irrelevant death, you can look back at this week as the stroke that did it. Britney Spears is now on Twitter as @therealbritney. So does this mean twitter has it jumped the shark? Nuked the fridge? Or is it just about to go mainstream?

If all this Twitter talk is a little over your head, The Centre for Digital Media is offering a web marketing workshop this weekend. Experts in advertising, analytics and social media will lay out the fundamentals of online promotion, marketing and advertising to help optimize and drive traffic to websites.

Social Media is becoming increasingly important for industry. Rachel Hawkes, of Social Media Portal, is quoted this week as saying “Blogs will continue to play an incredibly important role for brands and they should be looking not only to be managing their own blog, but rather becoming part of the blogging community and contributing.”

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