>I’m a sharing soul

>Last night I attended an event for folks who use social media, Twitter in particular, to have a tweet-up. Those of you who follow me know of this as #ConnectingHR. It’s odd going to an event like this. You talk to these people on Twitter. You’re kind to each other, and you have an interaction of sorts. You can’t really call it a relationship because there’s no vested interest in the other party. Not really. We might help and we might offer support, but you can’t do much more virtually. But you know, in your mind, that you don’t care if these people listen to you, if you offend them, or if they like you, because they’re not real. Not really. Of course, they’re real, but you know, they’re not to you, because there’s no relationship.

And then you decide you’re going to meet up. Not just one or two of you, but all of you who talk. It’s reminiscent of the old chatroom scenarios. You remember those. Bob lives in England, Karen lives in Fiji. They talk, they think they have a spark, they agree to meet and either they find they really do have a spark, or it was all based on false perceptions. But this was nothing like that. At all.

So the first #ConnectingHR event was last year, another after that, an unconference followed, and then last night the first tweet-up of the year. Right. So I’m off to meet a group of folk who share a hashtag. WTF? Are you fucking serious? Yes. Absolutely. Erm. Why exactly? Because we’re a community. Ok. Now you’re just talking nonsense.

Am I? Twitter is where I am me. I tweet about everything under the sun. I mix personal, with professional with work with food with my children. This a) gives those following me a complete insight into who I am b) fills up timelines because I tweet so damned much. On a night like last night though, that leaves me in an interesting position. I knew there would be folk there who actually read my tweets. They respond – actively – to what I say. For whatever reason they do this, they do this. I’m grateful for that. So going into the pub, the first thought that struck me was – Fuck. This is like going on a blind date where the other person actually knows an awful lot about you already, but they have no idea who you are. And having a Twitter handle such as @LearningGrump (nee @naturalgrump) makes things even more interesting as often folks just have their names as their handles, so mine is a bit more distinctive than most.

And then we say hello. And you look round the room recognising folk. Bob! Billy! Ben! And you connect immediately. Because you already know each other. Because all you’re doing is putting faces and real people to the names. And you find they’re just as wonderful in real life as they are on Twitter. I didn’t need to meet these folk in real life to help me know I have a supportive community. It’s helped, as now I can associate better with all of them. More importantly, though, I can now build relationships with them.

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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

8 thoughts on “>I’m a sharing soul”

  1. >I remember driving to #socreccamp and thinking WTF am I doing?! I'm going camping for a weekend with 16 people I've never met in person before – only connected with on Twitter, I must be insane!! It was one of the best things I've ever done. Some of those people have become really close friends – and all of them were exactly the same in person as I expected them to be from our online communications.Hurrah for Twitter, that's what I say! It's brought me love, friendship, business, sponsorship, support, wedding invitations, a hammock and all sorts.

  2. >What did I tweet yesterday???hrbeginner Jan 31, 11:01am via HootSuite"You feel so close to some people over tweeter that you feel like hugging them sometimes, then you meet them face to face and shake your hands"So I have to agree with you Sukh, It does feel more personal than most people would admit. And I got 6 people to hug me too. 😉

  3. >You're spot on Sukh! I blogged yesterday that we were one big happy HR family and last night was more party than networking event! We even had music courtesy of Doug Shaw…though no dancing I'm pleased to say!

  4. >Glad you were able to make it Sukh! First time I met the "gang" was a bit strange as you're never quite sure what to say. As it happens they're just as nice face to face as on twitter. Last night was like seeing long lost friends (and making new ones on the way).

  5. >I too felt like I had signed up for a large scale blind date type event but am so glad I went… I echo everything you have said, although I didn't meet Bob, Billy or Ben?!

  6. >Thanks all for your comments. Y'all rock :)@ PRforHR, Kay how nice to have met you. Thank you for the kind comment :)@ sarknight, how you have time to comment on a blog when you are about to undertake an epic adventure is awesome. Truly awesome. Thank you for your comment. I'm not sure where the new found relationships will go, but for sure it's a brilliant community.@ HR Beginner, Hi Peter! Indeed, Twitter can feel more personal than it may be given credit for. Kinda why I like it so much!@ Mervyn Dinnen, Merv, you're spot on mate, it was a party, and I saw the video of Doug doing his thing. How cool is that! How odd though that it's all because of informal chats.@ MarAirmiles, Jose, you're an epic follower and kind man to comment so regularly. Thank you for this. Well done on starting your blog, go Jose!@ Sarah Durbridge, he he Bob, Billy and Ben are good names to hide behind don't you think!

  7. >What a fabulous post! There seems to be some backlash against social media and "real" communication right now and this post gives a big ##$$XXZ#W#$ to that!This also has implications for any behaviour based online learning program that is undertaken by a number of people simultaneously. If you add an online journal to the program to record participants thoughts and then close the program with a face to face get together you are covering all bases.

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