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Among Boston’s Twitterati, Tom O’Keefe, aka @BostonTweet, has a Kardashian-like status. He started the account in 2008 as a way to help promote local businesses during the recession, but now, with 158,000 followers, it’s one of the go-to sources for learning about events, openings, and happenings around town. He took some time to put his phone down and talk with us for the Download.

How exactly did you become @BostonTweet? Purely by accident. I had two Internet startups when the recession hit, and both became worthless. I started @BostonTweet to support local businesses, and also brand and promote myself, so people would know me as opposed to another resume. By January 2009 I was working with Groupon as it was launching in Boston. They liked what I was doing, and I never got another job. It’s the best thing I’ve
done, but it’s the worst business model. It’s unscalable and there’s no revenue model.

You recently launched your own startup, Flutter. Tell me more about it. One thing I’ve always liked about @BostonTweet is that my [demographic], millennials, are very charitable. I have been a fan of a company called Omaze, which raises money for charities by creating contests for things like a dinner with George Clooney. I think there’s an opportunity to take that model and make it hyper-local, to raise money for charities like Rosie’s Place through experiences in Boston. So far, we’ve raised over $5,000 and roughly 500 people have donated, proving that people will make a $10 donation in exchange for winning an experience.


How many tweets are you doing a day? These days it’s five or six. It used to be close to 20 a day, but the more popular I’ve become, the more I’ve scaled back.


How do you unplug? I read a lot, and I read books, the ones you can actually touch. I think it’s super important to really disconnect, as I think we’re getting to a stage where we’ve been too connected all the time. We’ve all ridden on the train when every single person is head down in a phone. With @BostonTweet I get to meet a lot of people, but I always remind them that you need to put your damn phone away when you’re actually talking to someone. Nothing beats a one-on-one conversation.

Janelle Nanos can be reached
at janelle.nanos@globe.com. Follow
her on Twitter @janellenanos and
on betaboston.com.