I have met some extraordinary people online in the first year of my social media journey. Through these new connections I have learned the power of collaboration, and the magic of peer-to-peer learning. I have discovered a whole new world of interaction, enriched by a uniquely special network of Like-minded professionals.
Using tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogs, my fellow eventprofs and I frequently exchange ideas, experiences and best practices with one another. Occasionally, we disagree on some issues, but through open, direct dialogue we find new insights in those contrasting points of view. The growth of my personal Knowledge-base has been significant, as a result of these connections.
When I embarked on my social media quest, early in 2009, my hope was to gain some tangible benefit from it, although I was not exactly sure what that would be. Well, not only has the experience been valuable, it has exceeded my expectations! To my pleasant surprise, many of my new social media colleagues have also become close friends.
Each year I normally attend the PCMA Annual Meeting, as part of my normal January routine. I just returned from this year’s conference, (#pcma10) which was held in Dallas, Tx. As usual the event featured invigorating keynote sessions, terrific networking, outstanding social events and quality education. However, there was something special about this years meeting; I finally met, face2face, several of my social media friends.
Jessica Levin, Jeff Hurt, Mike McAllen, Greg Ruby, Paul Salinger, Jessica Rafferty, Sue Pelletier and Kristi Sanders are all people I met via the Twitter hash tag group called “#Eventprofs. ” I have met Jessica and Greg before, but the rest of the group I met this week.
On Saturday, shortly after arrival in Dallas, I met up with Jeff, Mike and Greg for dinner at a great Mexican restaurant called Monica’s Aca y Alla, in Deep Ellem. It is truly amazing, as our get-together felt more like a reunion, than a first time meeting. After Dinner we headed back to the Hyatt Regency Dallas, and Jessica joined us there for some after-dinner drinks. (Pictures courtesy of Jeff Hurt and Mike McAllen)
Throughout the rest of the week I met the rest of the gang mentioned in this article. Clearly, it was the highlight of my trip to Dallas. There really is something special about “putting a name to a face” and personal contact definitely deepens connections!
While there are still many social media colleagues I still want to meet, this was a great start. Just as virtual meetings will not replace the value of their face2face counterpart the same applies to relationships with people. While I have certainly become close friends with many of my social media colleagues, I feel a stronger connection with those I have met in person. This is the essence of human nature.
Have you had the opportunity to meet some or many of your online connections? If so, what was the experience like for you? Please share your thoughts with us!