Home > People > An Open Invitation: Show Up (and let me know how it goes…)

An Open Invitation: Show Up (and let me know how it goes…)

An example of a social network diagram.Image via Wikipedia

There are hundreds of articles a day about why or why not Twitter and/or other online communities provide the human connectivity that we all crave. For me, a personal story is more effective than a lengthy analysis in proving a point, so let me tell you a story about about Catherine Grison.

Yesterday I met a friend, Adrian Chan, for coffee and coworking at the Creamery. As Adrian’s laptop lost juice, and I grew tired of editing a document, we decided to grab a beer at Hotel Utah. It was the first day of the Apple Conference (WWDC), so the wonderfully divey Hotel Utah was filling up with other laptop toting-types. Adrian suggested I send an open tweet and invite others in the area to join us. Catherine Grisone, a name I did not recognize, immediately responded to say she was on the way.

Catherine is a self-proclaimed designer extraordinaire and owner of Your French Accent. She woke up that very morning wondering if Twitter was real or “full of sheet” (imagine the french accent). She saw my tweet while sitting in her office in Potrero Hill and recognized the serendipitous timing – it was a chance to see if the online connections are, in fact, real. Would we welcome her? Would be be anything like the people we claim to be online? Would we be “full of sheet”?

I give a lot of credit to Catherine for showing up. Nowadays more people than ever work from home, cowork or do not work at all. It is easy to feel isolated, to rely on online communities to feel connected and to forget the value of showing up in real life (IRL). It is a snap to become an active part of an online community (or thirty), but it demands far more effort to find a pair of clean jeans and meet people offline. Conversations are indeed going on everyday in restaurants, museums, bars and coffee shops, but an open invitation is the best opportunity I know of to join the conversation and connect in person. The options are unlimited, and often times taking online relationships offline is as easy as heading to a nearby bar at happy hour for a Tweetup.

While discussing how much we enjoyed meeting Catherine, Adrian asked a fair question: Do the same opportunities exist in less digital locales? Perhaps he has a point, so here is my advice: if you aren’t able to find an open invitation, extend one. Pick an inexpensive location, and broadcast it to your social network of choice. If no one shows up, try a different strategy, but don’t give up.

Show up, smile, contribute to the conversation and repeat. Throw an open invitation out there every now and then for fair measure. And let me know how it goes.

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  1. EdCabellon
    July 24, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    GREAT story Liza, I look forward to trying for Tweetups in the Boston area soon!

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