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20Jun/110

The Future is About…Making Connections?

I met my girlfriend at a bar.

This is considered weird nowadays.

You don't meet people at bars.  You meet them online.

Just ten years ago people would gloss over the fact they had met their current partner on JDate or Match or Ashley Madison.  That was weird.  But not any more.  Now it's weird to have met someone at a bar, like in the "olden days."

Survey your friends.  I guarantee the majority of them met their current partner at:

A)  Work
B)  Online

But not at a bar.

The 140 Character Conference was last week.  It's yet another social media conference.  Seems like there's one every single week.  Just an excuse for social media types to get to skip work yet again to watch more important social media types speak about stuff everyone already kinda knows while they sit in the audience tweeting everything that is being said as if it's pure brilliance (while adding the conference hashtag).

#boring

My Tweetdeck feed was clogged all week with reports from #140conf.  (Yes, ironic that I too follow countless social media types).

One thing that kept appearing in my feed was people saying things like:

"The future is about making connections!"

I don't know how many fucking times I've heard that in the last few years but especially the last few days.  Like it's revelatory.

Guess what?

The past was about making connections too.  You were just too chickenshit to make them without the protection of your computer.

It's ALWAYS been about making connections.

Due to my minor minor minor modicum of fame, I occasionally get invited to events that are attended by people I only know online.  Some of these folks I would even call "friends."  You spend years Tweeting with and e-mailing with and exchanging links with someone, and it starts to not matter whether you've ever even been in a room with them.

I have so many people I know only online, yet who I talk to every single day.  Likewise, my "IRL" friends, I might see once a month.  Who is the better friend?  It's hard to say nowadays.

One such event I got invited to last year I was so stoked to attend.  There was going to be a few dozen longtime e-friends attending and I was excited to finally put faces with names, hear their voices.

And then I arrived and met a group of dweebs too scared to look me in the eye, too nervous to even speak to me.

You think I'm being harsh, but I'm not.

These people couldn't live offline.

At first I thought they were disappointed in me.  "That's him?!"  But, later, I realized they were just scared of real, in-person social interaction.  Because, the second we parted ways, my e-friends went back to being chatterboxes (online chatterboxes that is), emailing me, and posting stuff, and Tweeting about the great time they had with @aarongoldfarb.

It was a bit of a revelation.

Some relationships nowadays can only be e-relationships.  Should only be online relationships.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

(Then again, I also have friends I ONLY want to deal with in person.  (Too many emoticons online))

So, this is a long-winded way of saying:

However you make connections, it matters.  It's important.

The ability to make connections from the protection of a computer has just given more nerdy chickenshits a voice.

And, I can't believe I'm saying this:

But that's a good thing.

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