Today I’m going to a blogging conference! (Imagine me singing that really; in a happy, lalala tune).
There are so many people I want to catch up with, to meet for the first time face-to-face!
I am a total social butterfly- flit here and there, cross-pollinate, while enjoying different nectars. It helps me grow and, hopefully, adds something for those I interact with too.
I’m pretty excited; I’ve been planning for it for months. For the first time ever I bought my ticket and booked my hotel in ample time. I was prepared…except for dinner arrangements.
In the past 3 years, since going to social media conferences, I’ve drifted along and mostly ended up having a brilliant time with those who didn’t have anything pre-organsied for after-parties. It did mean that I was starving by the time I got to have dinner and the restaurant was mostly a compromise. The company, however, always turned out to be totally enlightening! I met the most amazing people, most of who I still talk to, chat with regularly.
This year, someone had suggested dinner with our skydiving team.
Great! Something small and intimate, maybe as simple as a takeaway in our hotel room.
No, because more people want to come along, I was told.
So I took it on myself to look at what’s available locally. Found a place and struck a deal with them- decent price, set menu, private room.
We had limited space 20-34 people. I didn’t want to go public with it, so privately got in touch with those who said they’d be coming, posting into the Facebook group, tweeting, facebooking and texting.
I knew some folks needed leaway to not show up, but most didn’t. Most are adults, who can hopefully make a decision whether they fancy sitting down for a meal with a group of people they may vaguely know via social media. The question is- this is the cost, the menu and the venue, do you want to come?
A bit like being thrown together at a press event, except we had a bit more in common, a common cause, a common heartbreak.
What transpired was almost a replay from those painful school days: tussle of stalling till people found out who else is going and then checking with others in the background whether there is a cooler place to go to and hang out with the cool crowd. Seriously?
Having spent a big chunk of my time trying to arrange a nice, comfortable, affordable meal, it all disintegrated.
I’ve given up!
No hard feelings. Seriously! (Life’s too short to hold a grudge.)
Just disappointment over the wasted time and effort. I wish I’d cuddled my baby a bit more as he was poorly and feverish (he had his MMR jab last week and reacted to it today only), instead of trying to find something that accommodated everyone’s needs.
And I learnt a lesson in this past week (not just from attempting to arrange dinner).
Never try to organise anything via social media at short notice unless you can afford for noone to turn up! 😀
Social media might be social, but it still takes away from the richness of conversation, the bits of body language, tone of voice all are lost…even with the added smilies. It is even easier for misunderstandings to happen. Especially under time pressure, social media just does not work to arrange anything that takes commitment without that richness real relationships and face to face communication adds.
Something is human nature?
So I look forward to meeting lots of people in the next two days- old friends and new, ladies and gents I’ve never before spoken to, and those I have shared car rides, beds and ups and downs online and in real life.
If you spot me flitting about, please stop me a say hi. If I look blankly at you from lack of recognition, it’s probably that I haven’t had enough coffee and because I should be sleeping now, resting and not musing of life’s storms in a teacup.
Please do support my madness too- dropping two stones (in 11 weeks) before dropping 10,000 feet- all in aid of The Lullaby Trust in memory of a baby lost way too soon, Matilda Mae.
PS I think it was a brilliant stroke from the previous social media and blogging conference organisers to have a drinks and canopes party after the conference that reached well into the night. A perfect way to mix up the cliques and avoid the who’s party is cooler thing.