Social media now includes cocktails and appetizers. Yes, it's happy hour with Twitter.
"We're forming online relationships and taking them offline," Mike Wolpart said during Thursday evening's TweetUp party at Pacific Catch in Corte Madera.
Both expert and novice tweeters enjoyed martinis and ceviche as they engaged in conversations, both face to face and online.
"One of the great things about this is when you pull out your phone in the middle of dinner, it's not rude," joked Marilyn LoRusso, whose name tag read "@funmaster."
There were a lot of familiar faces after more than six TweetUp parties in the past few months. Sally Kuhlman sent out tweetvites to the event and had 25 RSVPs before the evening started. TweetUps and MeetUps both use social media to connect groups and individuals, either for business or pleasure.
Other TweetUp themes include bowling parties, chocolate parties and more, according to LoRusso.
"We're tweeting and we're meeting," LoRusso said before breaking into laughter as she realized the rhyme.
Twitter is a tool for international communication, but these people have brought it to a neighborhood level.
"Through Twitter, I've met people in my own community who I might not have known otherwise," Maria Benet said. "I knew the PTA crowd and some other groups, but Twitter has helped me meet an entirely new crowd."
SanRafaelPolice tweeted "Just met @LadyBaja at the tweet up" during the party.
San Rafael police Lt. Dan Fink was there to put a more human face on his badge. He has spearheaded the department's use of Twitter and Facebook to strengthen community bonds.
"We post all sorts of things … crime stats and trends, whatever. And we get posts from people about crime tips," Fink said. "Sometimes I just ask questions and people will respond. The key to Twitter is two-way communication."
The San Rafael Police Department has acquired nearly 2,000 Twitter followers since 2009, according to Fink.
Diane Fischler was described as "one of the original tweeters" by Kuhlman.
"Two years ago, we didn't know each other, but this is a real supportive community.
We're real friends now," Fischler said. "When we meet in person, you can tell who people are. You can't hide who you are on Twitter. Your personality will come out."
Said Kuhlman," When we first met in person, it was like love at first sight. We were all best friends because we knew each other on Twitter."