Katie from Katie Anderson Blogs wrote about meeting online friends offline and how it’s become almost more socially acceptable rather than having a stigma attached to it like it might have had 5 or 10 years ago.
I wrote an epic comment (all 450 words of it!) and decided that I would post it here as well – I might even tweak it a bit to make sure I make sense lol.
I’m all for meeting “Twitter friends” offline. I would just make sure to stick with meeting in a busy place (rather than a dark alley or something equally risky!), make sure that someone knows where you are and who you’re with etc. Overall just use common sense and don’t put yourself in an awkward situation if it can be avoided.
My first experience of meeting people that I’d spoke to on Twitter was back in 2009 when I went to the #140conf in London. I’d taken the day off work and organised to stay with my friend near Finsbury Park so that I could be there first thing in the morning to get the train across the city to the O2 Arena. I was actually really worried and excited about it. I was worried because I was meeting all these people that I’d spoken to on Twitter and was worried that they wouldn’t like the real life version of me (and whether the Twitter version of me was close enough to the real version!).
I grabbed lunch with @Minxymoggy and @hrkovar and that was hilarious because we literally didn’t stop talking for the whole time we were there lol. It was like we’d been friends forever! @Minxymoggy looked out for me that day so I wasn’t totally on my own – we ended up guarding two plug sockets while we took turn to charge phones (problem with a twitter conference with no wifi is that it eats your charge). After the conference I was adopted into a big group who were going to grab a drink in one of the bars inside the O2 – it was good fun and it was nice to social – it was even more funny when I was ID’d on the way into the bar – that was quite funny and I’m glad they all saw the funny side of that.
I also met @Daren140 in person that day and via his talk I was introduced to @beccaspeaks (you can find her blog here) who I would say is now one of my best friends. Actually I think I tweeted her to tell her she’d been mentioned in Daren’s presentation and his tribute to Bob Dylan and that was that – we were friends!
I eventually met Becca back in February along with two other Twitter friends when we formed a team for Eggheads. Somewhere along the line we figured that if you could form a group of friends from the same book group or church or something similar why couldn’t you form a team across a social network – well I guess the BBC didn’t agree because we didn’t get a call back but we had a fab day and got to meet each other. We even walked back to Liverpool Street and wandered round the shops like proper girlie girls (I do go shopping in a girlie way but I tend to go on my own or with my Mum!)
I agree about the “it’s more acceptable for an adult to do so.” But even then I think there are still the concerns there – I told my friend that I was going to London to meet a bunch of bloggers who regularly commented on a particular celebrities blog and that we were going to volunteer at Radio 2 for Children In Need – well she got proper worried that I was going to get incepted into a cult or something lol. I pointed out that I was going to safe and that a lot of the ladies in the group were Mums and so they weren’t going to leave me to get back to the train station by myself and things like that but she was more worried that my Mum and Chris put together. (She did join Twitter for about two weeks and then left again).
I think my Mum sees that I’m smart enough not to put myself at risk and that I’d meet in a public place and things like that. I think she was questioning my sanity when I tried to organise going to a friend’s wedding in Australia. Chris could see how much it meant to me and how “out of my box” it was but it came down to money more than anything. On the other hand said friend and her now husband met via the internet – she’s from Australia and he’s from California. Me and said friend had met via Twitter but we’ve spoken on Skype and by letter and email so it’s not like we’re complete strangers (although the above friend might think I needed to be committed to the local psychiatric ward).
I’d actually say that the people I email when I’m having a bad day (other than Chris) are people that I’ve met via the Internet before in person.
To add to this, I’ve actually become friends with one of my ex-employers through Twitter – and I would say that we get on better now than we did then!
I think overall it’s more accepted now and actually these couples who do find love on the internet and things like that – it is isn’t weird it’s just broadening your horizons outside of your town or city.
So as you can tell by the time I actually posted the comment on Katie’s blog it was a bit long! Please go read her original post as well 🙂