Saturday, March 12, 2011

Social Network

It's amazing to me, sometimes, how 'wired' socializing has become. I know more about some of the people whose blogs I read than I know about folks I am friends with in real life. I connect with bloggers on a daily basis, where I might go weeks without getting in touch with some of my good personal friends. I know what a certain blogger had for lunch yesterday, yet I don't know which state my best gal friend is in right now. Weird, huh?

Obviously, connecting through the internet is easier. It's convenient to boot. And it's also, to a huge extent, more comfortable. I can get pretty shy, and am definitely awkward around people I don't know. In fact, meeting new people is really stressful for me! I get nervous over what I'm saying, if I'm talking too loud, if they like me, etc. etc. It's nuts. And I know a lot of people share this anxiety. It's a big reason behind the success of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. People feel braver behind the Internet Mask, I think. More outgoing. More social. I know I do.

So when I read that Emily, the author of my favorite blog The Daily Garnish and her husband were coming to town, I thought it'd be a great chance to step outside my comfort zone and meet these people I know so much about, but have never met. They live on the other side of the country, after all.

(That is the other amazing thing about social networking: the national, and global bridge it creates, allowing people from every state and country and corner of the world to meet and get to know one's incredible. It blows my mind.)

So I emailed Emily, and met up with her, Casey and a huge group of other Seattle readers of Daily Garnish (and effectively took over Mighty-O Donuts! I felt kind of bad sequestering three of the store's six tables.) Going to this gathering was probably one of the most 'out-of-character' things I've ever done. Meeting one new person is awkward enough for me, and there I was, meeting ten other well as Emily and Casey. The concept was hard to wrap my mind around.

I was really interested in the dynamics of the whole gathering. A few women had gotten there early, and were sitting at a table already. I didn't know if they were there for the blog meeting too, so I stood around until I saw Emily and Casey walking in. Then it was like..well, it kind of reminded me of those 'flash dance' things on Youtube. Where everyone is standing around being normal, and all of a sudden everyone breaks out into a mad dance. In this case, Emily walked in and women from all corners of the shop stood up and walked over to her. More women walked in behind her, and gathered around as well. Pretty soon a group of 15 or so women (and a few guys!) were all standing around this woman who we all know so much about, and whose face we see on the internet every day, and who we feel like we truly know..we were all standing around, and then no one knew what to do. We eventually organized a huge table and all sat down. I have to was weird at first. It was kind of like how a celebrity walks into a store, and everyone gets nervous and excited. That was definitely the feeling in the air. Or maybe that was just me, and my nervous interpretation of the situation. I think the size of the crowd, and the diminutive space in the store, made it even more awkward. None of us seemed to have expected such a turnout. But eventually we all got chatting, and we ate donuts, and we drank coffee, and we relaxed.

We all bragged to Emily and Casey about our respective neighborhoods, we all threw out advice and suggestions on where to go, and we talked about the weather a lot. Because that's what people in Seattle do. We talk about the rain when it's raining, and when it's not raining we talk about how nice it is that it's not raining. But anyways..

I asked Casey at one point if this whole lifestyle was awkward for him, or weird, or if he's used to it. He said it's been a great way to meet people, and he really did seem used to it. It's still a strange concept to me, but maybe in a few years I'll have gotten over it.

It was weird but fun, and I met some really nice people who live here in Seattle. I mentioned to Emily the idea of sending out a group email so we'd all have each other's email addresses. It'd be great to get to know some of these girls more! I really would like to. The awkward initial meeting is over, and for me that's always the worst part of meeting someone new. At this point we've established things we have in common, and isn't that where friendships start?

So that was my morning, along with a 40min. jaunt on the elliptical before the gathering (was supposed to be a run, but my legs are tired!). Now I'm writing this at another coffee shop, before I go shopping for a little bit and then head off to swim. Should be a good day!

Thanks to Emily and Casey for letting us all inundate them with questions, and tips about Seattle. It was so fun to meet you guys! I really hope you have a great trip despite the rain, (See? It's all we can talk about up here!). I really hope we get the chance to meet again some day!

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