As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, socially I’m finding it much easier to connect with people these days.
Chris and I discussed this before the party properly kicked off and it seems we’re roughly on the same page – the barrier to entry of needing to be able to use Reddit weeds out a lot of people. By ensuring that a base level of intellect and nerdiness is present (which correlates with lots of other things to form common ground) we’ve ended up with a much better group than we would doing things the old fashioned way.
On a recent meetup thread I saw a comment that included this:
i'd maybe have to take a good few days to decide wether or not to tell my family, friends and co-workers that i attended an internet meet up, but regardless of that, i'll swing by!
I’m not sure how much of it is intended as a joke but it does seem to reflect the attitudes of a lot of people. I know one person (Hi Sky Light!) who I’ve known online since early 2005 who still seems frightened of meeting people from the internet. To me this is bizarre – hell, Trisdee flew 6000 miles and managed to find a few evenings to spend with us.
(If I could be half as nice a person as him the world would be a better place!)
When I think about the group we have in Edinburgh at the moment and how positive it is I wonder why the internet has such a stigma for meeting people. “Weird” people who make me uncomfortable have cropped up a lot more through traditional channels in my experience. I’ve met a few oddballs, of course, but rarely the kind I find threatening and never as bad as the ones I’ve met in the street!
Chris is moving on with his life and seems to have really grown as a person over the last year or so. Interestingly it seems he, much like me, is closer to those he’s met online than those known through more common networks. We hang out together because we like each other, not because we happened to have worked together or what-have-you.
We’ve created an environment in which he has constructed a nurturing social support structure. I wish universities would do a better job of creating them but it seems the internet is still very new for most people.
Or maybe it’s just that socialising is always difficult for those of us who aren’t in the big bit of the bell curve!