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Social Media Club chapter launches in Richmond.

More than 125 fans of social media are slapping real paper nametags on themselves. Add your Twitter handle, please, instructs Kira Siddall (@KSiddall), to those in line for a sold-out event at Morton's the Steakhouse.

Social media is a term used to describe loosely those online tools that connect people — such as Facebook, Twitter, discussion boards, chat sites and photo-sharing groups. Now there's the Social Media Club to connect those people in the flesh.

“Just met @knownhuman and hanging with @codearachnid @jmlumpkin @kamenlee @dwlumpkin …” Trevor Dickerson (@TrevorDickerson) posts for his 391 Twitter followers to read.

Like Oprah, CNN and Ashton Kutcher, Dickerson has only 140 characters for each of his Tweets, a real-time, running commentary-slash-virtual chat on the Twitter site, which is exploding in popularity. Dickerson, 20, is a Virginia Commonwealth University student who builds Web sites and also runs DowntownShortPump.com, which, naturally, has its own Twitter feed (@ShortPump).

Some kind of new contact is happening online these days. But tonight, May 7, it takes a human turn. Handshakes. Card-exchanging. Debating. Flirting? Steak sandwiches, crab cakes, wine and beer. And some people, yes, Tweet from their cell phones, having the short messages project on a screen in the room.

Oh look, there's @maryframer and @gatewood5000 and @jonnew and @stevemullen and @miketoner. A local Twitter star: Dave Saunders (@madmain), Richmond's most-followed Twitterer, according to Twitterholic.com, with 12,890 people signed up for his keystrokes.

Richmond's Top 10 Twitter users, based on stats from the Twitterholic site, each have more than 2,000 followers.

“#smcrva was a great success,” Twitters Edward Baldwin (@edwardbbaldwin), a local copywriter for Compel. The “#” marks his message for anyone who wants to find comments tagged as such. (One popular tag locally, “#RVA”; then there's the Twitter spinoff site: RVATweets.com.)

Interviewed through Twitter, club co-founder Doug Meacham (@DougMeacham) says his hope for the Richmond chapter is “(local & global) to connect, learn & share w/ business ppl who want 2 find new ways to listen to & serve their clients.”
He adds in a second Tweet, “But do so in a way that shares best practices, ethics and standards, and promotes media literacy around Social Media.”

Another co-founder is Nathan Hughes (@rvabusiness), vice president and sales manager for Bandazian & Holden. How did the event go? “Great ppl, food, & conversation = great start!” he Tweets. “The enthusiasm & turnout shows a strong need for this. I'm glad to be involved!”

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