I have a confession: I wasn’t the cool kid in high school. Now, don’t get me wrong: I wasn’t a complete nerd … but I was in the orchestra and I did go to yearbook camp.
I’m only telling you that now to explain that I know what it’s like to go somewhere and feel like you don’t totally fit in. Or, to show up at an event and pretend to look busy … when in reality you just don’t know who to talk to or where to stand.
Chris Brogan wrote a post the other day that really touched a nerve. In “We Could Do So Much More,” Chris shared something he noticed at South by Southwest:
Know what I saw more than anything else when I really took a moment to look around? Lonely people. I saw people not connecting. I saw lots of people who could’ve used a little attention. And I saw many people with lots of energy looking for a place to put it. And that means we have opportunities.
That really bothers me. I hate when things are clique-ish. I’m fortunate that I met a great group of people online. People like Danny Brown, Arik Hanson and Lauren Fernandez were among the first that I really connected with — and who helped me connect with others. As much as I want to believe I don’t have a social media clique, I think we all have a “home base” of people we feel comfortable with. (In fact, that’s part of what led Justin Goldsborough, Valerie Simon and me to host #chatmixer last week — we wanted to help people expand their networks.) Every day, there are new people signing up for Twitter — just trying to find their way. But, if we’re all so busy talking to our existing group of friends, how are these new people supposed to fit in?
I’m a big believer in the fact that sometimes people just need a little bit of help. And, it’s up to each of us to do our part.
So, here’s what I’m going to do: I want to meet you. If we’ve just tweeted — and even more so, if we’ve never tweeted or emailed … or if we’ve lost touch … or if you just want to catch up — I am setting aside some time every weekday from March 22 – April 2 to get to know you. From 8-9 a.m. EDT Monday through Friday, I’m available via Skype to talk to you. I’ll commit to one 20-minute call per time slot. We can chat about whatever you want (no sales calls!): PR, social media, nonprofits and social good, sports (especially March Madness or the Yankees), current events, your job, my job, your goals, people you’d like to meet — you pick the topic (within reason!). I realize that’s early for some of you, especially those of you out west, so I’m also setting aside 7-8 pm on Tuesday March 23 and March 30 to accommodate people who can’t make mornings work. My goal is not only to meet you, but to help you find people to connect with. If I can help facilitate introductions, even better.
This is either going to be really cool, and we’ll make lots of new connections, or it’s going to be a total flop. Either way, I like knowing that I’m trying to do my part to meet people outside my “home base” … and hopefully to make some people feel more welcome.
When Will We Meet?
The calendar is below. Click on “Tungle Me” and sign up for a 20-minute slot from 8-9 am EDT Monday – Friday or from 7-8 pm on Tuesdays. March 22 – April 16. Then, connect with me on Skype (I’m prTini), and we’ll go from there. I’m honestly looking forward to meeting you. Hope you’ll take me up on my offer! (Note: If you’re not comfortable/familiar with Tungle, that’s ok. I still want to meet you! Drop me an email at blog [at] gebencommunication.com with the day/time you’re free.)
UPDATE: It appears some people are having problems accessing Tungle (especially from their phones.) If the link below isn’t working, just shoot me an email to blog [at] gebencommunication.com and we’ll coordinate schedules like in the “olden” days! Include which day/time you prefer, as well as a back-up option in case your first choice is already taken. Please try to stick to the times I’ve outlined above. 🙂