Social media is a very useful tool in communicating with people all over the world in just a few seconds. Its faster than telephone and carrier pigeon, snail mail, trains, planes and automobiles and what is even better, you don't know who you are going to communicate with. The one thing you do know is that you have something in common with them. In our case it's a love of beer or a love of communicating about beer.
Only 14 months ago I was a lowly landlady of the Woolpack Inn in Eskdale. The Inn is located in a very remote valley on the western side of the Lake district, over an hour from any motorway and only one long coastal route from Cockermouth to Kendal, North to South. There are no roads East to West, well except for the Hardknott Pass. Three in one hairpin bends, very steep and narrow with not many passing places. Therefore the pub was rather quiet between November and February, plenty of time to have a long relaxing holiday.
However in November 2005 Dave (aka HardknottDave) had other ideas. Lets build a brewery and start making beer. The first beer was racked on Christmas Eve - well what else do you do on a Christmas Eve! Ready for drinking on New Years Eve.
We worked very hard from 1st February to 31st October every year with hardly any time off. Running a pub is very hard work and all pubs have their advantages and disadvantages. On 31st October 2008, another season was over. The Laa'l Ratty was having its usual Halloween trains and our children were off to help Grandpa in one of the stations. They loved to dress up as ghosts and witches and jump out to scare the passengers as the train slowly siddled through the station. Not Dave however, he had other things on his mind. He heard about this thing called blogger. While the children were out, and the guests had all gone, there was beer to drink up and some partying to do and Dave had to write his HardknottDave's Blog.
Already, in just a couple of weeks from starting to write, Dave was reporting to me about other blogs and bloggers and his need to post comments and writing blogs in reply was so addictive, he would be quiet for hours. (hard to believe, I know)
By the end of 2009 Dave had began tweeting regularly and somehow enticed me to join in too. Before I knew it, I had daily communications with a lot of people I didn't know. Then one day he said, "we're going on a Twissup", "a whatup?" I said, " A twissup" says Dave, "Where you can meet some of these people from twitter." Ok, sounds exciting, but how will we know who anyone is I thought. The day arrived in January 2010. We travelled to a recently opened bar on Sheffield Station, I guess you've heard of it - the Sheffield Tap. It was about lunchtime, but no food. It was also quite busy, lots of people with rucksacks, all buying beer. Suddenly everyone was introducing themselves to each other, they were all tweeters who had come on the very first beer twissup. There were 30 strangers all enjoying beer and breweries and chatting and having fun. But not much tweeting. We had an excellent day with some very good locals who kept us in check, well at least until late. We returned home with 30 new friends and followers.
To find out more about the day read
In September 2010 another twissup was planned. This time we're meeting in Picadily Sation at Manchester - oh no -not a pub. How are we going to find everyone in a train station? Luckily, Sooty decided he wanted to come too. He jumped into the rucksack and off we went. There we were in the station tweeting at people, but it was difficult to find everyone. No problem. There maybe lots of people with rucksacks in a station, but there's only one yellow Sooty bear.
Next thing, he was out of the rucksack and waving at everyone. This was fun. Breweries and pubs, trains and more pubs, then more trains. It was a tiring day. Sooty made lots of friends. Some suggested that he should have his own twitter account, and so HardknottSooty was born.