To be clear: I’m not much of a social media guru. I joined Twitter a few months ago pretty much just to see whether anyone said anything about my essay in the New York Times (they did, and most of it was: This girl’s crazy!).
So when I walked into a bar I’d never been to before in a city I’d just arrived in and, as I went to sit down, heard a man say, “Hey! You’re @wordsette!” I was legitimately shocked. How did this stranger know me?
“I recognized you from your Twitter picture,” he said. “I’m @somenameIdon’tremember.”
I’ve never been a social media celebrity before. It was weird, imagining that a stranger knew things about me that I hadn’t realized I’d told him. I’d never really thought about that because I hadn’t thought I’d ever run into one of my 50 followers at a random burger place in Chicago. It’s not like he started quoting my tweets back to me or anything. But he could have.
I think I’m pretty good about not saying things online that I wouldn’t want a stranger to know (mostly because there’s not much about me that I would hide from strangers), but I guess I just didn’t believe I’d ever actually meet that stranger. I know that’s the whole point of social media, to make connections with people online so that maybe, at some point, eventually, you can have some sort of meaningful connection that affects your offline life, but I never knew it would actually work.