In the last 2 weeks I've attended my first Tweetups. One was spontaneous at the local Restaurant & Catering Assoc. Awards Dinner - tweeters (about 10 of the 700) agreed on a #hashtag for the event and kept the comments flowing. This added fun to a predictable night - a good reason for table-hopping and meeting new people. One tip: if there's no official #hashtag for an event, take the lead and make one up (most event organisers are still learning about blogs, let alone Twitter). Track the tweeters present by searching Twitter for the event name.
The second Tweetup was at a favourite gelateria: an opportunity to meet local & active social media people. Tony the organiser (@hollingsworth) had set up the tag #gelatotub and used Eventbrite to collect responses (no cost for free events and excellent for managing paid ones).
More good connections: Rebecca who I knew as a chef 15 years ago and has 22,000 twitter followers for her food tweets!! Mei, who manages community relations for the famous Brasserie Bread, retail guru Nancy and a host of others. I added some theatre with a laptop running VisibleTweets up on a shelf - it shows a continuous, colourful display of your chosen tweet word or #hashtag. It didn't take long for iPhones and Flips to record videos and pics - Posterous seems to be the preferred way to share them eg Tony's collection.
If Twitter makes sense to you, track down or create a Tweetup and expand your network of like-minded people. Even searching Eventbrite for your location will reveal some surprises. Oh, and I'm on Twitter at KenBurgin.