Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A photo shoot, and a twitter tale

Today was the photo shoot for my space at Designer Spaces & Mar­ket Places in Hart­ford, the inte­rior design event which opens Thurs­day evening. There's an inter­est­ing social media back story to how I ended up spend­ing the day with a fab­u­lous pho­tog­ra­pher I had never met.

Way back in June, the savvy Suzi Craig over at Fathom had a, not really a come-to-Jesus talk, rather a come-to-the-new-gods-of-social-media talk with me. She stressed the impor­tance of con­nect­ing to peo­ple in the online world, and I insisted that Twit­ter was sim­ply not a place for me. It seemed ridicu­lous to think the Twit­ter expe­ri­ence could apply to me and my busi­ness.  I have nei­ther time nor inter­est in the meals and minu­tiae of strangers  - and that was my per­cep­tion of Twitter.

If you know Suzi, you know how per­sua­sive she can be, and before I knew it, I had a Twit­ter han­dle (@exuberanthome) and was dip­ping my toes into the twirling mael­strom that is Twit­ter. In short order, I was fol­low­ing and had acquired fol­low­ers. To my sur­prise the vast major­ity of these peo­ple are inter­est­ing. And infor­ma­tive. And con­nected to oth­ers like them­selves. Sud­denly I'm actu­ally IN a world-wide web of fun, cre­ative people.

Apolo­gies for the long-winded tale, but here's another inter­con­nected aside. Last Thurs­day, I attended an AIGA Break­fast Epiphany, hosted by the same Suzi Craig, where I met some seri­ously cool peo­ple. The dis­cus­sion of social media touched an inter­est­ing ques­tion: is your online voice your authen­tic self, or do you por­tray some­one else?  As a per­son who barely has time to have one online voice, I can't imag­ine hav­ing the energy to think up and con­sis­tently apply some other per­sona to my online inter­ac­tions. WYSIWYG with me. But the ques­tion of authen­tic­ity struck a chord.

Of the peo­ple I have "met" on Twit­ter, some really res­onate with me, I think, mostly because I believe their voice is authen­tic. I read their tweets and their blog posts and their nature shines through. It feels uncon­trived. And so I tweeted in August ask­ing "do you know a good, local inte­ri­ors pho­tog­ra­pher?" I received a reply from some­one whose online voice is so gen­uine — Amy Dra­goo at ABCD Designs. Because I believe in her authen­tic­ity, I believed her rec­om­men­da­tion would be worth­while. Does that make me naïve or overly trust­ing, or sim­ply ful­fill the adage that nice peo­ple have nice friends?

I have never met Amy, but she referred me to Michael Parte­nio, some­one she has never met, because she is con­nected to Stacy Kun­stel who is con­nected to Michael. So if you're still with me — the inter­sec­tion of four peo­ple who have never met in the real world resulted in me hav­ing a photo shoot with a ter­rific pho­tog­ra­pher — tak­ing pic­tures of a space titled "Wall Posts". A space designed around the con­cept of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the noise which sur­rounds us all from places like Twit­ter and Facebook.

The moral of this cir­cu­lar Twit­ter tale: despite the noise, there are real, mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions to be made via social media. When you get there — look me up @exuberanthome.

you really didn't think I'd reveal it before the show opens, did you?

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  1. ABC Dragoo says:

    Oh Cyn­thia!

    First of all, I am so glad I could help make the con­nec­tion for you. Sec­ondly, I can not WAIT to see the pho­tos. Thirdly, thank you *so* much for your sweet­ness! Your kind words about my pres­ence in your Twit­ter­stream really makes me happy.

    In my opin­ion, there is no point in putting on a 'per­sona' for twit­ter. No one can keep a farce up for that long. Twit­ter is all about mak­ing a real, authen­tic con­nec­tion and if you're any­thing other than that, the expe­ri­ence there will be less than optimal.

    I actu­ally have a lit­tle foot­note for your story: Stacy and I bonded on Twit­ter, and as you know she is a photo styl­ist here on the east coast. I recently pur­chased a house up in NW CT, and she hap­pened to be scout­ing at a lake near my lit­tle town. I learned about Michael when she and I met for cof­fee in the back­yard of my new house. So, we have met before. We call that a Tweet-up! You can read the story of our morn­ing cof­fee here:

    As you know, this week there have been a lot of 'tweet-ups' in NYC around the Rue Mag­a­zine Launch, the Nate Berkus Design Audi­ence, and of course, What's New? What's Next @ 200 Lex. There have been many peo­ple from Twit­ter that I have been able to meet with in real life. It has been quite spectacular.

    I have been on Twit­ter since the Sum­mer of 2008 and have seen many rela­tion­ships form, col­lab­o­ra­tions hap­pen, and don't even get me started on the oppor­tu­ni­ties that have landed in my DM box=amazing. It blows my mind that peo­ple are propos­ing jobs, project col­lab­o­ra­tions, and giv­ing advice in 140 char­ac­ters or less!

    Meet­ing Twit­ter 'friends' in real life is what it's about. Twit­ter sim­ply opens doors of oppor­tu­nity that you may have never thought were pos­si­ble to open before.

    Thanks again for link­ing to ABCD and for the com­pli­ment in this post-it warms my heart to know that I could help you find the inte­ri­ors pho­tog­ra­pher for this VIP (very impor­tant project!)


  2. I couldn't have expressed every­thing you said any bet­ter.
    Amy is a friend of mine on twit­ter too an now in real life. She and sev­eral other "new" friends from twit­ter have instantly found a solid place in my heart since we finally all came together in NYC. In a world filled with arti­fi­cial things these new friends of mine are noth­ing but gen­uine and sup­port­ive. Thank you twit­ter and thank you Cynthia.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Amy, thank you for your kind and thought­ful com­ments. I mis­spoke (mis-wrote?) — I knew you and Stacy had met in the real world; my apolo­gies! You are right, the Twit­ter­verse has been a much more inter­est­ing place than I ever imag­ined it could be. Thanks for all your help and I look for­ward to a Tweet-Up in the future!

  4. Cynthia says:

    Jonathan, yours is one of the authen­tic voices I "hear" in my Twit­ter­verse. I always look for­ward to what you have to share. So glad you all were able to meet in New York and solid­ify your rela­tion­ships. Sorry I missed it! Thanks too for your kind words, and safe trip home!

  5. WelcomeHome says:

    Wow what an amaz­ing post and com­ments. I'm from an old school pub­lish­ing world in the UK and peo­ple still think I'm crazy being on Twit­ter. They believe it's only about what peo­ple have for lunch… I have found it to be so resource­ful and as you say filled with so many cre­ative like minded peo­ple. I love how at dif­fer­ent times of the day/night I can see what cre­atively is hap­pen­ing around the globe. Thank you so much for shar­ing and I can't wait to see the pics.

  6. susan says:


    Yes, twit­ter is amaz­ing. Amy, I have the plea­sure of get­ting to know face to face and she has intro­duced via twit­ter to the most amaz­ing people.

  7. Cynthia says:

    Thanks Amanda — I know, even my hus­band thinks I'm crazy to be on Twit­ter, but where else can you "meet" so many lovely, diverse peo­ple in one place?!

  8. Cynthia says:

    Susan, thanks for your com­ments. I read Amy's post on your shop (and if I'm not mis­taken, Eddie Ross had one as well) and look for­ward to vis­it­ing. I'm not far away in cen­tral CT.

  9. ABC Dragoo says:

    Hello Cyn­thia.

    I just wanted to stop in again to say thank you. I linked to this post in a late edi­tion post today on ABCD Design.

    I really appre­ci­ate you telling this story Cyn­thia! It's fine (real life meet­ing or not) how you told the story ~ it is the heart of it that mat­ters. I am bowled over again and again at how remark­able Twit­ter is at con­nect­ing people.

    Jonathan, Susan = big kisses to you both. Thank you for your sweet com­ments. I feel really lucky that I have been able to meet you both in real life. Cyn­thia, you're next! ;)

    @WelcomeHome I am going to go sign into Twit­ter and see if I can find you. :D

    Take care you guys.

  10. stacystyle says:

    This is such a beau­ti­ful story! I love Twit­ter so much for the con­nec­tions and inter­ac­tions with peo­ple I have that I never would have met or had access to. It is a gen­uine gold­mine of advice and sup­port and activ­ity! I am so glad you inter­acted with @abcddesigns who tweeted with me who tweets and knows @mpproductions and now you have beau­ti­ful pho­tos of your space. All of those inter­ac­tions were based on per­sonal con­nec­tions through Twit­ter. I hope there's some busi­ness school study­ing this so they can see the true value of social media. For me, I find it a won­der­ful resource and an incred­i­bly sup­port­ive atmos­phere both pro­fes­sion­ally and per­son­ally. I can't wait to meet you! I sug­gest you come to the @nehomemagazine party on Oct. 14 @irwinfeld in Stamford!

  11. Cynthia says:

    Amy, I really appre­ci­ate your will­ing­ness to share your exper­tise and thank you for includ­ing me in your "late edi­tion" (which is fab, by the way!) You make the Twit­ter­verse spe­cial. And now, enough gush­ing and off to work! Thnx!!

  12. Cynthia says:

    Stacy — I am amazed at the con­nec­tiv­ity of Twit­ter. Three months ago I would never have believed it. I agree with you, the sup­port is beyond mea­sure. I will def­i­nitely attend the party in Stam­ford @irwinfeld. I look for­ward to meet­ing you!