It was a pleasure to have a picnic in the park yesterday – and a pleasure to have fish and chips in the pub too. I was chuffed (that’s ‘pleased’, ‘delighted’, ‘tickled pink’) to be invited to a friend’s double celebration of academic achievement and a birthday. I was equally chuffed to be able to share a long car journey with congenial friends, and specially chuffed to meet friends old and new when we arrived. I was, on the other hand, dischuffed to miss one friend who had to leave before we arrived – thanks, M4, M25 and parking machine, we really didn’t appreciate the delays.
These friends….yes, all people I’ve met through Twitter. Some of them I’ve met one, twice or several times before, some of them I’ve only chatted to online, one or two have done work I’ve admired from afar (Dave Walker, cartoonist supreme, I’m looking at you!). People who already knew me – or at least my on line persona (which I like to think is pretty much me). It is a gift to this loud introvert to walk into a group where I am already known, where no-one is surprised if I go quiet, or if I am briefly in the middle of things. It is a gift to me to approach a day of ‘strangers’ with no fear. And the beauty of this picnic was that it wasn’t just the “twitterati”. There were other people there to, people who don’t do SocMed, and strangely/obviously enough, we all got on.
The highlights of the picnic/pub experience? Being given a ‘hard sum’ to do (“You’re an engineer – how much gaffer tape do I need to mark out a labyrinth?” just at a point where I was a bit peopled out), sitting next to a fellow introvert who I’ve looked forward to meeting and not speaking (yes, I know extroverts won’t get this), listening, talking, laughing.
You can tell it was a great day of face to face, because I have no photos of it at all. That means I was having far too much fun to faff with a phone. The outcomes? Many new trusted friends, and an assurance that although I may get to Greenbelt one day, it won’t be this year. Don’t worry, world, if I do decide to go to Greenbelt another year, I’ll announce it here first…and then construct a programme of whom I am meeting, when and where.
But next time someone warns you about the dangers of Social Media – hold this thought. It’s as dangerous as you make it.