About a year ago, my dad informed me he joined Twitter.

But he wasn't really active, he explained. Instead, he called himself a "lurker" - someone who enjoys reading people's comments, but doesn't inject himself into the conversation.

I laughed. But then I wondered if I was a lurker, too? I refresh the @FlipSidePA feed with daily updates. I retweet. I reply to folks who mention us. But most of the time, I just scroll through updates hoping to find entertainment tips and hilarious over-shares.

There's a list of Yorkers with active and witty Twitter handles that I constantly read and reference. I feel like I know these people by tweet instead of by name or face.

It's kind of bizarre. But even more bizarre (for a few moments at least) was actually meeting the people sending those tweets.

York has hosted Tweetups and Think Drink, where local Twitter users meet up for drinks and conversations. I have attended a total of two because I still kind of felt like a lurker, since I mostly use Twitter to promote our magazine content.

But a few months ago, I started noticing Yorkers tweeting about a film project. So, like any savvy lurker, I clicked on the links and learned about "Follow Friday the Film."

Erin Faulk, a filmmaker and Twitter enthusiast, cooked up an idea to actually meet some of her followers. She raised money through an online campaign to travel across the country to meet and interview people she knew online.


York's Twitter community started to buzz again when Faulk and her three-man film crew added York to their itinerary.

Their first stop was Idea Tree's downtown offices July 11. Stefan Becket, whom I had only previously known by his Twitter handle (@stefanjbeck

et), opened the door. It is kind of strange to introduce yourself with your name, immediately followed by your Twitter handle.

But Becket and Faulk were used to it. They played Ping-Pong as Faulk asked Becket about why he started using Twitter and some of the trends he sees. I felt like a lurker again as I hung out and listened to the conversation. But everyone knew I was there. Humor and sarcasm, by the way, are still much better in person.

More introductions happened the next day when Trisha Melikian Rego (@parva_x) hosted a gathering of York area Tweeters. This time, I got a nametag that asked for my Twitter handle. As I walked through Rego's home, I got some familiar nods from people I didn't know. But it turns out that I did know some of the guests there beyond Twitter - from other interviews and hanging out around town.

Food and conversation were plentiful - some of it was tweeted. A lot of it wasn't related to social media.

Rego, who had moved in earlier that week, was a great hostess. I shouldn't have been surprised by the warm welcome. My lurking taught me that these people were fun and outgoing. And, after admitting that I follow most of the people there, my lurking days came to an end.

It was great that Faulk and her film brought everyone together in real-time. We should do it again soon.

And if you follow me on Twitter and see me around - notice my mug - feel free to come up and introduce yourself.

As a former lurker, I can assure you that it will only be weird for a moment.

PopEye is a bi-weekly column focusing on the ever-changing landscape of popular culture. To reach writer Erin McCracken, call 717-771-2051 or send an email to emccracken@ydr.com.

Local entertainment on Twitter

Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center: @strandcapitol

CapLive: @caplivemusic

Penn State York's Pullo Family Performing Arts Center: @pullocenter

York Little Theatre: @ylt