Aaron Wormus used to come home and only be able to tell his wife, Stella, about the funny thing he saw on the walk to work that day. Now, he tells it to more than 4,400 Twitter followers.
That’s because Wormus is the one-man founder, content creator and marketing savant behind A Guy on Clematis, the popular West Palm Beach-based Twitter and blog. Started in 2009, A Guy on Clematis has amassed a following of curious citizens wanting to know everything from city-altering commission meetings to why a downtown fire hydrant is being painted a new color. Armed with his Samsung Galaxy S3, Wormus has provided his legion of followers real-time updates and photo snapshots of all things related to central Palm Beach County – but not more than 140 characters at a time.
Started as a way to connect people to the recent implosion of a downtown building, new restaurants, nightclubs and more, A Guy on Clematis in its simplest form is just what its name implies: A guy – Wormus, in this case – whose citizen journalism has kept the public updated from the street level.
Five years ago, Wormus lived downtown and would walk to his office on the 400 block of Clematis Street. “During one of my walks I remember there were lots of trucks coming down and tearing up Flagler,” Wormus says. “I sent out a Tweet that basically said, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ Someone responded and said the city was going to change the waterfront.”
Wormus learned that no local news organization was covering the day-to-day waterfront structural change, only reporting about the larger-picture idea. So Wormus stepped in, and thus A Guy was born.
“People just want information – it doesn’t matter how small it is – and they want to consume and share it,” the soft-spoken Wormus says.
This guy on Clematis has come a long way from his native Finland, where he later traveled the world with his missionaryminded parents. Wormus eventually settled in Germany, married and had two children. He moved to West Palm Beach in 2007 to become the chief technology officer at Hedgeco Networks, a large hedge fund database – and it should be no surprise some of his coworkers even follow this guy on Twitter (@aGuyonClematis).
For this tech lover, blogging and Tweeting are natural extensions of him. As Wormus puts it, “I was blogging before there was blogging.”
Through it all, Wormus has remained stalwart and dedicated to being civically engaged in his city’s developments. Now living in the south end of West Palm Beach, Wormus still champions downtown West Palm Beach and his “hobby” of informing the everyday person about what’s happening around them.
“I don’t make any money off my blog, and I really don’t care if 50 people follow me or 50,000,” he says. “I feel it’s not about getting numbers; it’s about being genuine and caring about what you are posting.”
Sadly, it has come at some cost. He’s been called a “fan boy” and “Clematis Street’s biggest cheerleader,” two backhanded compliments that Wormus shrugs off. “I try to stay as positive as I can,” he admits. “I resist the urge to become snarky. It’s really easy to be negative, and I don’t think people like that at all.”
So the next time you’re on Clematis and you see a tallish, blond, 35-year-old gentleman with his pretty wife and two daughters, it might be Wormus. But if this guy is snapping a photo with his Samsung Galaxy, then it’s definitely him.