My First Google+ Real Life Hangout

Now many of you have probably met someone from Twitter or one of your favorite blogs in real life. Of course, when you had this first interaction it was probably awkward as you had never had a face-to-face conversation with the person and weren’t sure if your personalities would be compatible enough to carry on a conversation, no matter what the topic.

Having gone to Podcamp 2011 in Nashville, I have really taken a larger interest in social media and connecting on the local level. It is amazing how many people around you share common interests. Of course, there is always that boundary of figuring out how to meet them.

Our culture has a certain set of norms that we are expected to follow. If you are engaging in conversation with someone, no matter how much the subject or person you’re speaking with disinterests you, you are expected to remain in that conversation. The situation only gets worse when you go out with a bunch of friends that are talking about things that either you’re not involved with or do not interest you at all.

Now on the other side of that is the mystery of meeting someone from “the Internet” (read in scary movie voice) that you have only chatted with in text or possibly over Skype. What we have been missing out on is the opportunity to come into contact with like-minded individuals that we would otherwise have a hard time tracking down or bumping into serendipitously.

Well, that’s where Google+ hangouts come in. Never in my life have I had more success meeting people, learning about people and connecting with others that share common interests. Whether we’re debating politics, talking about whether or not the photograph TMZ posted of Steve Jobs is fake or if the extreme weather events of the last few years might bring some validity to the 2012 hype, there is *always* something to talk about and someone to connect with that you likely wouldn’t come across in the course of your daily life.

Take for example a trip to Starbucks or the grocery store. Most of the people that you interact with there are not going to be engaging you in any conversation other than “what would you like” or “paper or plastic.” To go beyond those boundaries of conversation may not be taboo, but they will not be long-lived. We live in a society where we keep to ourselves and only interact within our socio-economic tier and usually within clicks. Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the way we interact in “real life.”

What I am trying to get across is that Google+ is creating an incredible environment for people to connect. People from far reaches of the globe. People that live just a few miles away and most importantly, people that care about sharing their content, sharing their opinions and learning form each other. This is something that everyone in “real life” yearns for, but are hard pressed to find.

Just recently, I posted something on my stream asking if anyone in my circles knew someone capable of creating kinetic typography. The person that answered knew not what I was talking about but expressed his curiosity through humor. Just based on that one comment, that one interaction, we got talking and less than 12 hours later were meeting up to have a beer and discuss things to the tune of Drupal, Barcamp and the social media guy from Griffin Technology (+Dave Delaney). It was amazing how many of the same people we have met, but that we both run in different “circles.”

So, while you are busy building your circles on Google+, I challenge you to start exploring outside of your circles in real life and perhaps connecting to a few of the people you have met through Google+. You may not live as close to each other as +Jamie Meredith and I do, but you will certainly cherish the opportunity to connect with people you enjoy. Google has presented us with a great opportunity to discover, let’s all take advantage of it.

Have you met anyone in person that you hadn’t met before because of Google+? Tell me your story below or what you love about the interactions you’ve had since you’ve joined Google+.

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