Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Nerdiest Thing I've Ever Done

I knew I choose the right title for this blog. It's been like three weeks since I told you about the corpse flower. Here's the rest of the story:

I've already admitted that I met most of my friends on the internet a few years ago, so this has to be pretty nerdy huh?

I followed the Lois saga on Twitter and on Houston Museum of Natural Science website. They had a webcam on Lois 24 hours a day. In the pane next to the webcam they showed the tweets about her. Tweets containing #corpseflower were automatically filtered onto the page. There were tons of people talking about Lois but several hundred people were around day after day (and night after night). The little picture icons next to people's names helped people become familiar faces.

While I was waiting in line to see Lois with my friend Kasey, I checked Twitter on my Blackberry and saw this:

I followed the link to Facebook and learned they were going to have a get together for 200 Tweeters to meet each other and the people at the museum who we'd been following online. They also would reveal who had been posting hilarious tweets as Lois ( I immediately sent in an email requesting an invite. I heard back from Erin at HMNS that I was on the list.

The Tweetup (that word still makes me giggle) started at midnight at the museum on Saturday. I haven't gone out at midnight since I was in college (and bars closed at one when I was at A&M so we usually were out way before that). I stayed up really late on Friday so I could sleep in and be ready for a midnight outing on Saturday.

I got to the museum about 11:15 since I had no idea what kind of line or check-in process they were going to have. I lucked out at got a parking spot right in front of the museum. And then I got heckled.


Some guys rolled down their window to inform me that it was "just a fucking flower!" It cracks me up now, but at the time,  I was very "WTF just happened?"

The event was held outside the museum next to the Butterfly Center. It was a very neat setup. They gave each of us a ticket to see Lois again and a drink ticket. SCORE! Outside they had some tables out and a bar set up.  And that's when I realized I had left my wallet on the kitchen counter. Boo. Luckily the bartender knows how to fill up a glass of wine:

They had three projectors set up showing stuff on the wall of the musem. One was showing all the #corpseflower tweets. People who were not in Houston or who were unable to go asked all of us attending to keep them updated.  No pressure to be entertaining or anything to them or the people attending! I did use it as a way to find someone I'd been tweeting with for weeks though. @stephsparkle was standing right behind me! Turns out she's an Aggie too!

The middle one showed some selected Lois tweets from the previous few days. And I totally geeked out when I saw one of mine. I didn't have my camera or phone out, so I had to wait for it to roll around again. Then I got a picture with my phone. )It's fuzzy because it's projected on the outside of the building and it's not a completely white, clean building.)

Here's a screen capture of it:
One of Stephanie's came up too so we had to wait for hers to come around again.

The third projector was showing info about Culture Map, a website I had started following on Twitter about the time I learned about Lois. It is a great source of info on all things Houston. And it turns out that @CorpzFlowrLois was a staffer at Culture Map so it all came together nicely.

Sprinkles was there with cupcakes. I am not much of a cake eater so I skipped those.

I got to meet Erin from HMNS that does all of their social media stuff. I'm sure she has a spiffy title, but I don't know what it is. However, what an awesome job! I would love to be on Twitter and Facebook and get paid for it. (Let's not mention that I'm at my desk typing this and I'm on and off FB/Twitter all day at work). I am sure she was extremely exhausted but she was super nice and talked with us for a while about the museum and how they would be having more tweetups and their Flickr group (which I joined since she said they have special events for people in the group to photograph things after hours).

And I met Mary Benton (she's on Channel 2 news in Houston). She had been reporting about Lois but was also a big fan and tweeted along with us.

Everyone involved in the whole Lois phenomenon was so nice and helpful. If someone tweeted a question, 10 people answered. It was a really neat thing to be a part of ...even if it was extremely nerdy to go meet a bunch of people that I'd met tweeting about a flower.