The first #ATXFEM tweetup was back in December 2011, and since then Austin feminists have been meeting just about monthly to drink cold beverages, organize with other activists and generally have a sweet time.
If you haven’t been to one yet, let me cordially invite you to this Saturday’s tweetup at the Pour House on Burnet Road at 5 p.m. I know it seems kind of weird to go meet a bunch of strangers from the Internet, but I can’t tell you what a badass bunch of people #ATXFEM has turned out to be.
If you’re apprehensive about coming, you’re probably wondering … what the hell do people do at a tweetup? Do you tweet the whole time? Are there name tags involved?
So here’s what happens: I get to the Pour House a little before 5 p.m. and I have a balloon with me. I find a long, patio picnic table to sit at. I tie the balloon to the table so people can find me. Then, people arrive and they order beverages and bar snacks. There will be name tags on the table for you to stick on to your body part of choice (we are feminists, after all) so that no one has awkward ohmygodwhatistheirnameagain moments. You can put your Twitter handle on your name tag if you want, or you can put your real name, or Batman or whatever. You sure don’t have to be on Twitter to come to the tweetup. It’s just a handy way of rounding people up.
We will then start talking about some stuff, like the way people who sit around and eat and drink together talk about stuff. Probably it won’t even be feminist stuff at first, explicitly. It’ll be about someone’s shitty date, or new shoes or new job or dog or cat or whatever. Often the conversation will turn to feminism or current events or what-have-you. Sometimes someone will say something funny and someone will tweet it. But we don’t tweet the whole time.
I like to make sure I get to talk to everyone at the tweetup, which can be kind of hard considering we have had up to 20 or 25 people attend over the course of the evening. But I recommend this tactic. Play round-robin with different groups and make sure you get face time in with just about everybody, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.
You don’t have to get there right at 5 p.m. and you don’t have to stay all night. You can stay for a beer. Or a half of a beer. Or forty Dr. Peppers. I’m usually one of the last to leave, and we tend to head out around 9 or 10 p.m. But if you can’t make it until late, we’ll wait for you. And yes, you can bring your kids if you want–the Pour House is a bar, sure, but the last time we were there, people were having their kid’s first birthday party there. So it’s that kind of thing.
Personal testimony: #ATXFEM has been a great way for me to connect with other progressive folks in Austin and feel way, way less alone in fighting the feminist fight in a conservative state. But I’ve also found writers to help out at my day job. I’ve found sources for my reproductive health work. Most importantly, I’ve made actual friends. Out of a bunch of strangers on the Internet.
So I hope to see you on Saturday, whether I’ve never seen you at #ATXFEM before or I’ve seen you at every tweetup.
(Other #ATXFEM alums: feel free to leave your #ATXFEM testimonies in the comments!)