Whenever I go to tweetups (in-person group meetings of people who know each other online, mostly via Twitter), I notice two distinct types of interaction between people.
- One kind of person will who use it as an chance to get to know people as people, talk about all kinds of things and generally chitchat, making a real connection with others.
- The other kind is much more limited, focusing on what I like to call “talking about talking.” You will hear phrases out of this persons mouth like “Well, I twitter about such-and-such” or “As I wrote in my blog…” more frequently than most. They relate to people through how they already know them.
I’m not going to say that one level of interaction is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than another, I just find it curious. I’ve always tried to chat with people that I know online about things not related to online, because hey, we’re all people first. Is it possible that the second type are looking for some kind of validation from those around them.
In thinking about it, it seems like perhaps many of the ‘talking about talking’ folks are used to being a ‘big fish’, so to speak. When you surround yourself (intentionally or by virtue of your job) with people who are less familiar with online communications than you are, I think we all have a tendency to go into ‘guru-speak’, talking about talking, in order to evangelize the importance of the medium. Some folks have a hard time turning that off when they’re in a room with other online-focused people.
So I guess my message to this second type of person is: Relax, you’re amongst friends. You shouldn’t feel the need to prove your net-savvy, or active in the online world, that’s why you’re attending a tweetup! In-person meetings are the time to get to know people as people. Find out what music your favorite blogger is into, complain about the weather, start a drinking game. Talking about talking really just comes off as trying too hard, and makes me want to roll my eyes and go talk to people I know have no interest in talking about follower counts over beer.
Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Leave ’em in the comments :)
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