I have been busy, busy, busy this week! Now I’m back working 5 days a week it’s a real change of pace. It’s actually a bit alarming how quickly you get used to enjoying a 4 day weekend… [Note to self: Challenge for the new year is to get Mr J into a top notch job so that I can laze around more and he can keep me in the manner to which I’ve always wanted to become accustomed!] So anyway, my social media play time has fallen by the wayside somewhat and I’ve really missed it. But actually not quite so much as I thought I would, because so many of the people I talk to on social media are now people I talk to in ‘real life’ too!
In the last seven days I’ve spoken to @LisaScales, @AndyHeadworth and @AlanWhitford on the phone and to @RadicalRecruit on Skype. I’ve had dinner with @MervynDinnen and @LaraNewman, and tomorrow I’m meeting @ClareWildman for after work drinkies. Who needs social media, eh?! Not one of these relationships would be in effect without social media. Well, without Twitter, to be precise!
Maybe I’m preaching to the choir here, but social media is really only the beginning. So far I’ve met at least 24 people from my personal Twittersphere, and frankly I need to work harder to increase that number because it’s a bit lame all things considered! Seriously though, there’s only so much you can convey in 140 characters or with the written word and if you truly want your relationships to flourish then you need to take it offline, into the real world and onto the next level. Yes, social media is a fantastic start and, sadly, I may never get to meet a lot of my favourite Tweeps in person due to geographic barriers, so in that respect is still an amazing tool, but even so… There are plenty of people we can and should meet. There are people in all our networks who we’ve never met but who live within a stones throw.
Now obviously you have to be a bit cautious about meeting anyone from off the internet. Though the prospect of being ‘groomed’ at 20-, 30-, 40-something is actually marginally flattering, personal safety comes first! But we’re all adults and we can all use our common sense. There are local tweetups and events happening all the time and this can be a perfect setting for a first meeting, not to mention providing the opportunity to meet a whole host of other people you might not have connected with otherwise!
@LaraNewman was the first person I’d met on Twitter who I met offline. We went ice skating together and had a lovely afternoon! Mr J thought she was probably an axe murderer or, failing that, some sort of swinger who was touting for new recruits. Of course, she was neither of those things (I suspect he was slightly disappointed about the latter!) but we met in a public place and Mr J demanded I leave a report with him listing everything I knew about her, just in case I never returned home. To be honest, I’ve never (yet!) had any doubts about my meetings with people on Twitter. Most people reveal a whole host of information about themselves on both Twitter and LinkedIn and are known by at least one other person in my network, so short of it being a very large and organised axe murdering ring, the odds are good that they’re not a psychopath. I’d be far more reticent to meet anyone who wasn’t pre-vetted though and you do have to use your common sense.
Meeting someone in person can really only benefit a relationship. These are people you regularly talk to anyway and who you already know you have something in common with. So have a flick through some of your favourite social media contacts and see who you can meet for a coffee in person! So long as you’re sensible, the absolute worst that can happen is that you have a miserable hour and have nothing much to say to one another, so you’ve really nothing to lose!