People having conversations on- and off-line

“Why should I want to have a conversation online when I can go and talk to someone face-to-face?”

Advocates of social media regularly encounter such views. While there is, of course, some truth in the reaction, it also overlooks some of the opportunities that might asking a question or airing an opinion on line. Face-to-face conversations tend to involve from two to a few people, but a conversation conducted via Twitter can involve numerous other individuals, adding a wider range of expertise and experience to the exchange, and sometimes forging new connections. I had two examples of this yesterday.

Expanding the exchange. At the Ecobuild show at London’s Earl’s Court, I attended a seminar on building information management (see post), and – as I have got into the habit of doing at recent conferences – posted some notes via Twitter. As a result, one of my followers, Paul Doherty, an American architect currently working in Shanghai, made some observations and posed some questions that I was able to raise with one of the presenters immediately afterwards – despite Paul being thousands of miles away.

Tweet and meet. In the run-up to Ecobuild, the idea of a “Tweet-up” was raised. Essentially, this is a meet-up arranged via Twitter, with details spread virally among one’s Twitter followers. As a result, with little effort, more than 20 people all met up for post-show drinks in a pub, The Pembroke, in Old Brompton Road. While I knew about half of those who turned up, there were also some new faces and I have now added a few new people to those I follow on Twitter. Lesson: Twitter is not just about online networking, it can also boost conventional networking.

(A postscript: Another ‘Tweet and meet’ example would be last year’s Be2camp 2008 event. The Be2camp network started as a Twitter exchange, then added a Ning site, and became a hybrid event, combining both face-to-face and online interaction. Many of the 50-60 people who physically attended had never previously met, but several collaborations arose as a result.)

6 pings

  1. […] Contact People having conversations on- and off-line […]

  2. […] enabled richer levels of interaction, sometimes opening doors to new networks of contacts (see People having conversations on- and off-line and Meet then Tweet). The expanding social media world also means that in-house and agency people […]

  3. […] virtual relationships face-to-face – As I explained in March (see People having conversations on- and offline and Meet then Tweet), social media need not be restricted to online communication. It is easy to […]

  4. […] Male – talking about using Twitter to arrange meetings in the ‘real world’ (see my post on […]

  5. […] enabled richer levels of interaction, sometimes opening doors to new networks of contacts (see People having conversations on- and off-line and Meet then Tweet). The expanding social media world also means that in-house and agency people […]

  6. […] on Wednesday’s post-EcoBuild “Tweet-up”, I wrote yesterday about how Twitter could be used to ‘Tweet and meet‘: to organise social gatherings at […]

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