Meeting for Real

Connecting with Tribes

Last night after a day of meetings in Dublin, Orla and I decided to end things on a high and attend the Connector event in The Church. The theme this time was ‘tribes’ and after we were entertained by excellent musicians we heard from a number of Irish tribes – Synth Eastwood (a strangely compelling performance), Le Chéile, Dublin Streets, D-light Studios, The Attic, Crewger, and Nouveau Vadge. are a bit of an Irish phenomenon; they’ve been up and running for over a decade and last year won the grand prix at the Irish Web Awards. What I love about boards is that they facilitate an online ‘pub chat’ about any and every topic you can name or start a thread on. Last night guy (I missed his name) spoke of a recent development of groups forming on and then meeting up… in real life. He thought this was pretty cool and so do I. It reminded me of Adrian Avendano’s Meet for Real project which actively invites members to hook up with like minded people online and also at real events. (Actually the language is a bit strange isn’t it – why isn’t an online event real? And why is meeting up in real world referred to as offline – like offline is unconnected and so irrelevant…).

For many people, especially those not directly working in the ITC arena, their online social networks are usually comprised of people they know already in ‘real life’. By all means it is not uncommon for people to meet online – but obviously it takes much longer, and requires much more effort to build up a relationship with someone you have only interacted with through facebook, twitter and comments on their blog. Meeting someone at event, shaking their hand and having a brief conversation over a juice or coffee allows us to judge a person with all 6 senses and gives us so much more of an insight than if we were to read 100 facebook status updates or tweets. We humans crave social interaction after all and try as it might the coolest design and best JavaScript can’t make a video chat as engaging as a having a one on one in the local pub.

Find your Tribe

Recently Orla and I began attending B.O.S.S. in Mullingar. (BOSS stands for Business Owners Social Society – great name!)  To setup the group was used. Visitors are invited to either start their own group or search for groups within a certain mileage of their home. Each week I get a digest in my inbox of groups (matching my interests) that are meeting up with a 25 miles of my area. Cool!

I think we’ll being seeing much more in the way of these tribes forming and interacting online with the objective of meeting up regularly or irregularly in ‘real’ life and I’d imagine they’ll have a longevity and member base that is stronger than a solely virtual group. Of course there has been plenty of groups in the Irish techie world meeting up regularly for the last few of years (Open coffee for example) but I love the idea that it’s spreading out to society at large and across a range of interests outside of tech.

P.S. Connector references this great video from TED on Tribes – worth watching.

3 Responses to “Meeting for Real”

  1. Fred

    Great post Heidi, fantastic “P.S”. Just saw the TED video and immediately posted it on Facebook.


  2. Kate

    Good post, Heidi. You bring up lots of good points. Love the idea of using online networking primarily as a tool to facilitate physical meetings – suits me perfectly.