I always am a little amused when people express shock that relationships can be built and can thrive completely online. After all, I have been meeting people I previously knew only online as far back as 1996 -- long before Match.com or any of these other social sites sprung up explicitly to bring people together and keep them in touch. Of course, once tI got to New York City to take part in Blogger Social '08, I was quick to discover that, as is usually the case, I didn't know half as much as I thought I did.
Because I'd done it before, when CK and Drew conceived and pitched the idea of Blogger Social, I was on familiar ground. Stand toe-to-toe with people I chat with all the time? Sure. It's the only natural next thing to do.
I also didn't expect the event to be put together so well that what was presumably so familiar would be so new and rich to me.
When we read what people write -- on blogs, in newspaper editorials, etc., it's easy to take for granted our knowledge of that person and the concept of a shared experience. The truth is, though, that it is an interaction that often takes place only in our own minds, and as wonderful as the Internet is and is becoming at bringing people together from vast distances, nothing compares to meeting face to face.
And an open bar.
Here's the point. The heart of social interaction is participation, and the root of participation is will. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that, and I hope that, if you hesitate in joining the conversation, you find it in yourself to overcome any fear you may have.
The world is, as CK said, getting smaller, and at long last we are starting to act like it.
All I can tell you is this: If you've read these articles on MPDailyFix or on various blogs and you've enjoyed them but haven't joined the conversation, you're not only missing out on a great opportunity to meet and know wonderful people, but you're depriving them of the chance to meet and be enriched by you, too.
You never know what may come of it. We'd love to talk to you.
Photo credit of Luc Debaisieux and Arun Rajagopal to CK.