I read a post over on Eric Olson’s blog about networking, and how the heart of a good New Media networking event is fun.  Having been to several at various PodCamps, I totally agree.  It’s great to have music and bands, but being able to sit and talk is important.  PodCamp NYC had two really great events at a place called Slate.  There were pool and foosball tables in the basement, places to sit, eat and chat- it was great.

Networking is also such a difficult word.  It conjures up images of overly solicitous, vaguely smarmy salesmen looking for prospects.  The tone that conveys “This is all about me and what I can get you to do for me.”  And this is not what New Media is about.

New Media get togethers tend to be more about meeting new people, learning about what’s going on in their world, and possibly figuring out ways to work together.  It’s about getting to know the people, and what’s happening on the big wide web.  I look at it as a “What can I do for You?” approach- because you never know when another friend of yours has a similar interest or bent, and by connecting people, the whole new media space grows stronger.

So the question comes down to this- Do we need a better vocabulary to talk about Networking events?  Since how you frame a question or conversation will often dictate the type of response you get, is it better to call them something else?

Thinking about how Meet-up sounds a little like teenagers hanging at the mall, and meeting sounds too formal- Does the term New Media PlayDate work?

CC Chapman speaks often about the New Media Playground. The thought is based on the fact that we are all discovering this new and ever changing landscape in new and social media.  It’s fun, and you learn by playing with the toys.  So perhaps the answer to to change the name of these events to something that connotes fun and play, and simply co-opt the parent term Play Date.

I’ve never liked the term Play Date when used for kids agetting together with their friends. It makes child’s play sound so scheduled and arranged, where play should be fun and free.  Especially having a child on the cusp of puberty, how do I translate this term when talking to Jamie’s friends parents- “Let’s have a playdate” seems inappropriate for twelve and thirteen year olds.  But it’s not a date either- what the heck do we call this thing, that still needs some arrangement and participation from the adults, if for transport purposes only?

So let’s take this bizarre term and make it useful in New Media.   I think a Social Media or New Media PlayDate  sounds like fun!  Your thoughts?