I’m one of the Lead Organizers of PodCamp Philly, being held at Drexel University, September 7th, 8th, and 9th. And I am learning how important it is to be up on your virtual knowledge, but how difficult it can be as well.
In the age of blogs, we assume everyone has some passing knowledge about us. That they have checked google, linkedin or the like, before approaching us about something. Yet because so many of us have several virtual identities- whether it’s skype handles, second life names, or podcasts- Can you ever really expect people to know “It’s You”? We are known for so many different thinks in different circles. It’s hard to keep all our internet passwords in sync, let alone our virtual identities. But when I try to approach people regarding PodCamp Philly, I’d like to do it as personally as possible- very difficult when there are so many people and identities- can I avoid double-dipping by accident?
I had a funny thing happen to me at PodCamp NYC. CC Chapman introduced me to “Mike from Blip” sitting next to him on the stage. I had never met Mike before, nor did it click at all that he was the CEO of the company. So I did the “Wow! what a great service, I Love it- it must be a fun place to work” and CC then told me Mike was Mike Hudack, the CEO, I felt stupid, we all laughed good naturedly, and all was right with the world.
In New Media, this sort of thing happens all the time. We make mistakes because we know people, or know of people virtually, rather than in person. When we see them in person, it’s hard to make all those dot to dot connections quickly, especially at a conference, when you meet so many new people in such a short period of time. Couple this with the fact that many of the “important” people- the new/social media CEO’s, VP’s and the like have no pretense, in the old school way, of importance and hierarchy, you can’t easily identify the CEO’s from the newbies, the tech guys from the business guys. This is part of what makes new media conferences so great- you meet people on a very one-to-one basis, and like them for who they are, not what they do, or what you think they could do for you. It’s honest and personal. And it means you occasionally look like a moron.
So this blog post is mostly a pre-apology for any mistakes I might make in talking to you about PodCamp Philly. It’s a big, wide internet out there, and I simply can’t master it all, and remember it all on the spot. I will do my best, but I know I’m gonna screw up. And I am sorry, because one of my central goals is to make everyone I know feel special and important- and that they matter enough to remember. And I might really know you from Twitter, or PodCamp or from elsewhere around the web, but it might not click into place that we’ve spoken before.
I hope we’ll all remember that knowing “everyone” is tough, and cut our peers a break when they “don’t know who we are” from time to time. The lasting impression for me is always made when I connect virtual and personal, and that’s the joy of new media conferences- hooking up the worlds into one, where we’re all about helping each other and moving the ball forward. And thanks Mike, for being so kind when I felt so stupid. This, in and of itself, gave me the best impression of Blip.TV possible- that it’s made up of real world, great people with a terrific sense of humor and compassion. That is what I carry with me when I think of Blip now, and it’s why personal connections are the real lasting impressions we leave with our audiences, large or small.