Sara Paxton, Managing Partner, CTO Evans Media Group

Finding Love in 140 Characters or Less …

In advertising, Business, Economy, Entertainment, facebook, humor, LinkedIn, marketing, social media, Technology, tv, twitter on February 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Recently, the partners at Evans Media Group, Kansas City’s Social Media Agency, were asked to be guests on a televised news segment at the local CBS affiliate station KCTV5. “We were to appear during the nightly news and be interviewed by the host of a web themed segment about our involvement in social media,” said Sara Paxton, the agency’s managing partner and CTO. Nothing unusual so far, Paxton and her partner, President and CMO Paul Evans had made television appearances before; had been interviewed for articles in newspapers and business publications and we are no strangers to public speaking.

The difference about this interaction is that the entire discourse took place via Twitter. No phone calls, no emails or texts, in fact right down to directions to the station and the announcement that they had arrived, were communicated with tweets and direct messages on Twitter. They had never met or spoken with the interviewer prior to walking through the door at the station, in fact he sent them a tweet to tell them he’d be right down to usher them into the station.

The host, a local Twitter celebrity himself that you might know, Kurt Kloeblen, was delightful, the interview a success and Evans Media Group, in true social media style, tweeted their followers and told them to watch. But after the interview, the partners were discussing the fact that all communication for the meeting had been conducted via social media, and decided to find out if the same thing might be happening in the dating realm. Were people interacting, meeting and eventually dating as a direct result of Twitter and other social channels?

Lonely tall, good looking gent, likes walks on beach, pets and fine wine, seeks attractive women for stimulating conversation and friendship (Yes … that is exactly 140 characters, spaces count). So dating, or at least date advertising is certainly doable within the confines of 140 character communication; Evans and his partner just wanted to know if it was happening, who was doing it, how often and whether or not they would talk to, or at least tweet them about it!

Their research quickly turned up, a dating site that asks users to log in through twitter, set up a dating profile and start connecting with others. Flirt140 was another find, a new site that provides a variety of options such as gender, location and keywords to search twitter users. A list of all Twitter users matching the search criteria will then be displayed. Members can then view the users profile, send them a private message as well as “wink” at them! The site isn’t visually appealing but for those looking at Twitter as a dating site, it’s a must visit.

So the move to dating in the social space, rather than the more traditional online world of eHarmony, Chemistry and the old stand-by was determined to be officially underway. “But we wondered if we could actually find some real world examples,” said Evans. “So we began casting about in our social circles for testimonials of found love (or at least found date) on one of the social networks.”

Paxton, who maintains several social network profiles for Evans Media Group and herself personally, admitted that they did not have to look far. “When we moved our agency from the East Coast last year, we immediately began connecting with the “locals” and “socializing” via Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and several other networks and have quite a large following ourselves. Among our active Twitter conversationalists we found two individuals who met through and began dating as a result of Twitter.”

@vivid13 and @arogersphotos are the Twitter handles of Jeremy Brooks and Amy Rogers, two very active tweeters who interact across severalsocial platforms with thousands of other known and anonymous individuals.Jeremy is a Pharmacy Tech transplant from St. Louis, now living in KansasCity. He is a sports fanatic of both the Saint Louis and Kansas City teams – He is also a self admitted addict of caffeine, bacon, Buzztime trivia, his HHR and, as his handle implies, the number 13. He has a sharp, if somewhat jaded sense of humor and over 1,100 Twitter followers.

Amy Rogers is a photographer, cat lover and sports fan. Her official Twitter bio states that she is a “Photographer/Pool Player/Customer Service rep by day, vixen by night. Or so I’m told. President of Twitter. Master planner of tweetups. @vivid13’s girlfriend”.  Jeremy and Amy’s tale is like an old fashioned love story, but it was 21st century technology that led them down the path toward eventual dating bliss.

They first encountered each other by swapping 140 or less character communication on their smart phones. In the old days, this would have meant they were “pen pals”.  But eventually they did actually meet as a result of a new phenomenon known as a “tweetup”. This is the Twitter equivalent of a meet-up, or meeting where several people gather at an agreed upon location for coffee, cocktails, a meal, bowling or any number of possible reasons.

These Tweetups are thought of as safe, because there are multiple people present, less awkward than a blind date because of the pre-meeting tweets and one can always just walk away if upon arrival you see that there is nobody in the group that appeals to you physically, since unless you announce yourself, nobody will know who you are.

Jeremy and Amy’s meeting and several more that followed led to a “real” date and the eventual announcement, via Twitter of course, that the two were officially a couple and Amy’s posting to her bio that she is in fact @Vivid13’s Girlfriend. We are happy for them, but still curious. Please take a moment to answer our Twitter Dating Poll and we will case study the results in a subsequent blog in a few weeks.

Happy Dating!

Written by Paul Evans is the President and CMO of Evans Media Group, a boutique agency located in Overland Park, KS that specializes in traditional marketing, social media marketing, online marketing, and public relations.


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