This topic came up today on Twitter, sparked by a tweet from @JennyMack. My response was Twitter, hands down, for one major reason, the Phish Twibe. I have probably discussed the Twibe here before, probably several times, in fact. But I don’t know that I’ve ever talked about how the Twibe formed and grew into what it is now. So here it is! It’s a great story of the power of social media.
I joined Twitter in early June of 2008. The first people I followed were mainly local people and people they followed. Soon after, some Phish fans started following me (prior to protecting my account for various reasons) and soon I had a small following of Phish fans. I really enjoyed following people and started following more, including celebrities, news sites, bands, etc. I have since stopped following many people, especially celebrities and news sites, because they just aren’t relevant to me and I don’t care what celebrities have to say. To me, the social web was, and still is, for real connections, not listening to celebrities talk about some unimportant news, or even some important news, but in a way to make them feel important and influential.
Phish announced their reunion after nearly 5 years since the Coventry festival in 2004, which was to be their last show. Ever. They were getting back together for 3 shows in Hampton in March of 2009. The world was abuzz with this news, including Twitter. I gained more followers and followees than ever before, simply because of my interest in Phish. One of those people was @UNOlker (aka UNO, for brevity’s sake). Hampton came and went. There was a small tweetup of some of my initial Phish Twitter folks at the shows. Phish had also announced a summer tour, which was to start the last day of May at Fenway Park in Boston. In April 2009, UNO created a group on a site called twibes.com for Phish. The Phish Twibe was born. While we rarely used the Twibes website, we did use the name for our group. Those initial Phish Twitter folks all joined, and a tweetup was scheduled for the Fenway Phish show. It was the first “official” Twibe tweetup. There were probably 10-15 of us in attendance, all meeting for the very first time, though one or two had met prior at the Hampton tweetup. The rest of Summer Tour 2009 was filled with smaller tweetups at the individual shows.
Sometime that summer, the band announced they would be holding Festival 8 over Halloween weekend in Indio, CA. It was the band’s eighth festival and fifth Halloween show. Plans were made. Several of us got together and met up in Las Vegas and took an RV to the festival. There were seven of us on that RV, most meeting each other for the first time, though we had each met at least one other at some point prior. Since we were all friends on Twitter, it was like a family reunion. We already knew each other quite well, and the course of the weekend was a great time. What was arguably the most successful “official” Twibe tweetup was held on Halloween afternoon. There was somewhere between 30 and 35 people in attendance, many who we had never met prior, some who we have not seen since. More tweetups were held during the Fall Tour 2009 and the New Years run in Miami. We all met up again during the summer of 2010, when the @phishtwibe Twitter account was created to help organize tweetups and give a single point of contact for people looking for information on Twibe happenings. More large tweetups were held in Atlantic City, for the band’s Halloween 2010 run, and in New York, for the band’s New Years 2010 run at Madison Square Garden. In November 2010, PhishTwibe.com, known simply as #theboard on Twitter, was created. It is a “secret” (though clearly not-so-secret) forum for the Twibe to have conversations in more than 140 characters.
Many of us have become great friends in real life as well as on Twitter. There have been romances created within the Twibe – some started prior to the Twibe’s inception, some are due to the Twibe. I consider the people of the Twibe to be close friends. I consider them to be some of my closest friends, in fact. Several of us have even gone so far as to permanently show our love for the Twibe in the form of a tattoo. The Phish Twibe is a true social media success story, and it only continues to grow. This is one story that remains unfinished, and will likely remain unfinished for years to come…
I have personally met many people from the Phish Twibe in real life, and track them through a list on Twitter.