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Meatspace is like #2amt Squared

05.07.10 | 1 Comment


CATEGORIES about 2am, conversation starter, social media

I recently had the opportunity to meet up IRL (in real life) with @scottyiseri and @Chris_Ashworth, two gentlemen whose thoughts I have been following regularly through the #2amt hashtag on Twitter.

Each time I was astonished, once again, at the value of translating the “idea” of a person… the strange amalgam of avatar, blog thoughts and twitter musings that I had assigned to a certain “identity” in my mind… into a real living, breathing human being.

As I prepare to head down to the Theater Bay Area conference on Monday, to talk about “advancing your career through social media,” I find that it is these “meatspace” interactions that have crystallized the real value of the extensive cyberspace interactions that I have invested my professional energy in these last few years.

Why?

Well, here’s a secret I don’t tell many people.

I’m terrified of strangers with name badges.

I go to conferences and “networking events” scanning eyeballs and job titles desperate for something, anything, to latch onto that might be an excuse to start a conversation. But, what’s the right tone? The right opening line? How do I know I’ve found a useful connection? How do I know the nametag-attached-to-a-bundle-of-flesh I am currently talking to is not just standing there waiting for the next, more relevant person to talk to them?

I prefer to start my relationships in the middle. With the cameraderie, the inside jokes, skipping right ahead to the meaty idea-swapping, provocative question part of the conversation.

You know, the GOOD stuff.

And I realized suddenly, after two completely fascinating conversations with people who, by all accounts should have been COMPLETE STRANGERS, that, through the magic of this medium called social media, we were able to skip ahead. To the good stuff.

We had a frame of reference for understanding each other. A short hand, if you will. A pre-screened assurance that we were probably going to be worth each other’s time and energy. It was oddly reassuring to discover when I arrived for coffee, or for brunch, that the person I was meeting also “knew what they were getting into” by talking to me. They had, after all, a rich database of reference material to help point the way to what I might know that would be of value to them and just how we might get along.

Our conversations veered wildly from the topics we discuss on Twitter or through this blog. But the foundation was built on a core of shared perspective that made the each diversion a breeze. Right from the opening line. Boy, if only online dating sites were so effective, right?

So as I prepare for this panel discussion on “Professional Development through Social Media,” I find myself looking forward with anticipation to the San Franciscans I might meet in “meatspace” who have been following the work of this blog and the #2amt hashtag. I look forward to skipping ahead with you, my un-met band of #2amt brothers and sisters, to the good stuff.

In fact, feel free to introduce yourself, in these comments or on twitter (@trishamead) and let me know if you have time to meet up this weekend (I’ll be in San Fran from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday morning). Tell me what you’re excited about, what you’re working on.

And then, at the conference, throw a #2amt tag right on that scary scary nametag, along with your twitter handle. That way I’ll know that you, like me, are ready to skip to the good stuff.

Together we’ll chart the path to a smarter, more impassioned, more engaged theater community. One conversation at a time.

I can’t wait.

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