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Could You Trust Someone You Met on Twitter?

Could You Really Trust Someone You Met on Twitter?

I was a nervous child, and after years of being subjected to horror stories of freak kidnappings and worse, I'm still — as an adult — a little scared of strangers. And while Twitter is remarkable in its ability to connect users of all types around the world, that doesn't mean that the proverbial sketchy dude in a conversion van isn't lurking behind a computer screen somewhere disguised as @friendlyguy25 on Twitter.

Recently, my favorite author (and recent woman with a job we're jealous of) Susan Orlean experienced a questionable situation, and exhibited a serious amount of Twitter trust. She writes the full story on her New Yorker blog; check out what happened after the break.

Essentially, she tweeted about some netbook trouble on Twitter, and was met with a flurry of helpful responses, including one from a man who offered to fix it for her. After some back and forth, she packed up the offending netbook and shipped it to a perfect stranger. Immediately after sending the machine, this thought:

"I felt like an idiot — like I had fallen for one of those Times Square scams where a weeping teenager tells you he's been locked out of his grandmother's apartment and if you could loan him fifty dollars he could get a locksmith to let him in."

Thankfully, it turns out that the man was both honest and helpful — he fixed the problem and sent her computer back, a truly awesome example of genuine kindness aided by technology. I think I'm too skeptical to do something like this, though. Could you have done it? Would you?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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kehutchinson kehutchinson 5 years
I engage with a lot of people on Twitter, and I would love to meet some people in person, although distance is an issue. I have met people who have shared coupon codes for stuff I was purchasing, invites to beta sites, and gotten all kinds of advice on topics from "how should I structure a landing page for my business website" to "where should I have coffee," That said, there's wackos on the Internet, so be careful who you meet up with. But if someone has made a relationship with you, 140 characters at a time, go for it.
shreerose shreerose 5 years
No, that's creepy.
falnfenix falnfenix 5 years
Amanda Palmer relies heavily on Twitter users for ninja gigs, occasional places to stay/people to visit, and general hijinks while on tour. She has not yet seen problems with it. I think, like all things, if it's used wisely it's not a bad thing.
ColdColdGround ColdColdGround 5 years
although i am voting no on this one, i have a somewhat related story to share. remember chatroulette? yeah, me too. when it was brand new and was still fun (and i was signed off work by my doctor) i basically spent my whole night rouletting with strangers. i was brought together with a cute guy and it turned out we posted on the same message board (music related). a week later i invited him over to visit me.. he was in massachusetts, i was in germany. a month (and many skyping sessions) later he really came to visit me. end of the story.. we're married now. when i told my friends (and my mom) they all thought i invited a crazy, psychopathic dude who flies across the world to kill women. good thing they were wrong!
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