Friday, March 11, 2011

Transformations #39: The Tweetup

If you've noticed, on the side of my blog is my Twitter feed.  I trust you're all monitoring it ceaselessly and are enjoying the hilarity ensuing therein.


One of the things I've come to love about Twitter is how I can connect with people that I never would have connected with before.  Some may argue that a connection of 140 characters is of dubious worth, and indeed many Twitter experiences lack value.  But some do, and the ones that do, really do.  And I'm not just talking about opportunities for business growth here.  At the other end of each tweet is a real person, and many of them are very interesting.

Over the past year, I've built digital friendships with a number of other Winnipegers who are using Twitter for work, like I do.  These people are usually representing the face of their company or employer on the various social media channels, also like I do.  One of them, Matthew Shepherd, organized a tweetup for March 9.  A tweetup is basically a chance for Twitter users to meet up with each other in real life.  I wanted to go and have a chance to meet some of these interesting people face to face.

The only problem is, I'm an introvert, and being in a crowd really drains me - especially when it's all strangers.  My wife, in God's idea of irony, is a roaring extrovert.  This disparity really caused a lot of difficulty early in our relationship ("I want to go out." "I want to stay in!" and back and forth like that), although we've reached a healthier balance now.  Now when we go out together, I consider myself lucky just to be able to be out with her (having five kids will do that).  Not only do I enjoy her company more than I ever have, but she grounds me when an environment is outside of my comfort zone.  She is my rock.

So here's the transforming moment: I went out to a venue I've never been to before (Tavern United), I didn't know a soul there, and my sole source of social strength - my wife - wasn't with me.  Talk about taking the forceps to one's comfort zone.

Only twice before in my life have I voluntarily and without a driving reason put myself in a completely foreign situation like that.  The first was when I toured with The Challenge Team in the late 1990's, and the second was when I joined Toastmasters.  Both of those choices have resulted in amazing life experiences for me, and so I'm confident that good things will come out of this tweetup and the ones to come in the future.

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