I guess it’s safe to say I’m now officially a social media tart. I’m on everything: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Plaxo, LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, and probably some places I’ve completely forgotten about or would prefer not to remember. I even linked up my Facebook status updates to appear as my Twitter updates. Okay, I’m lazy, so sue me.
I recently joined Flickr and it’s been a right larf. I’m now being stalked on there by some Cossack who plays the balalaika (no I am NOT kidding). I’m telling you, he’s way out there, Russian Orthodox and single (oy vey). He looks like he could be straight out of Dr. Zhivago. (Ironically, I’ve a copy of that very tome given to me as a special gift on my bedside table – and I’m seriously considering setting fire to it.) It’s a shame the Cossack doesn’t float my boat, or else I’d be viewing dachas with Russian estate agents as we speak. There’s also a really hot Hungarian guy on my Flickr. And don’t ask me how, but even Robert Scoble got on there. And no, he’s definitely NOT hot. Well, except perhaps to Mrs. Scoble. (Sorry, Bobby! Kiss kiss!!)
Which brings me back to Twitter. I already had a very severe case of laryngitis (that has now developed into bronchitis) before I arrived well armed with Moo cards at their London networking event on Monday evening which was, by a curious twist of fate, called “Twinterval” (it’s got the word “winter” in it, get it?). So trying to shout above the impenetrable din at The Match Bar in Oxford Circus was a major challenge, as was the pushing and shoving by too many people crammed into too small a space. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) I was plied with mango Bellinis courtesy of a free drinks coupon and courtesy of some social media guy from Toronto. So rather than squawking like bird roadkill, I squawked like an injured hawk that hadn’t yet become roadkill. Mind you, the evening was only just beginning.
I ran into a few familiar faces from other networking events I’ve attended recently, including a blogger from France who remembered that I’d been about to take my “Life in the UK” test the last time he saw me. In fact, I’d forgotten all about it until he asked how I did. (If you read my blog post “How Many Chavs Does It Take To Screw In a Lightbulb” you’ll know that I passed.) A number of other people came up to me too, recognising me from Facebook and other sites, which was kind of cool in a rather friendly stalkerish way. There’s no anonymity on the internet; you’re out there naked for the entire world to see!
When it became clear that my oral communication skills were severely hampered and weren’t likely to improve, I set off trying to locate what was left of the free munchies (I have my priorities right). I tell you, that crowd chowed down nearly everything in the place, leaving only the tables, chairs and couches behind. I ended up parking myself at a table full of people I didn’t know or speak to just so I could eat the hummus and pita bread they weren’t remotely interested in but had somehow been fortunate enough to have ended up with. Talk about eat and run.
Now I realise that I tend to fluctuate between being a social star on one end and being a hermit on the other, but I find it rather curious that what was supposed to be a networking event consisted of several “networkers” sitting solo at tables typing into their laptops. Am I missing something about this social networking gig or what? Or were these people trying to demonstrate their geekiness by disengaging from the entire process of face-to-face networking and interaction with other human beings? I’d be willing to bet they were continually updating their Twitter status too – and updating it with snappy little tweets that made it sound as if they were really living the high life. (Sounds a bit like Facebook, eh?)
I don’t know if this is coincidence or not, but suddenly a slew of people are now following me on Twitter. I have no idea where they’re coming from or how they found me, but hey, if they want to follow me, so be it. I won’t complain. Isn’t that the entire point of this exercise? Unless there is no point, and I’m missing the point.
I suppose no evening out in London – or at least an evening out involving me – would be complete without its fair share of science fiction. Just as I was leaving the event, I was given a little gift bag, which thankfully I didn’t open on the underground, or worse yet, on the train back home to Oi Oi Essex. Mind you, I could have made some really good friends very quickly had I removed the contents of my goodie bag. What was in said bag, you ask? Well, try this on for size (ahem): condoms, massage melts, a “love ring” (yeah, there’s a ruder name for this and you damn well know what it is!), and something called a “Curlywurly”. (For some reason this makes me think of scissors and the importance of personal grooming.) I don’t even understand why this stuff was handed out. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the nature of the event, and as far as I know, the sponsors for the evening included the likes of Sun Startup Essentials and Openwave, not the Jiggy-Jiggy Sex Emporium. Unless I was the only one who received these treasures and everyone else was given a more respectable bag of Lotto scratch cards and cards for free international phone calls and packets of Maynards Wine Gums.
Hmm… I wonder if my dishy Hungarian might have had a hand in this? 😉