Social Media Makes the World Smaller.

May 25, 2012

It’s the beginning of a long weekend here in the U.S. and I have just returned from a wonderful week of travel. I am way overdue for a blog post, but I don’t feel like sharing any heavy content today.  This is going to be one of those feel-good kind of posts.

Last week I had the honor of speaking to the Ottawa chapter of MPI on Content Marketing and Cloud Computing for Meeting Professionals.  I was able to book the engagement because of referral from a wonderful friend and client. I have to say that I was more excited than usual about this trip because it gave me the chance to visit one of my favorite cities. The first time I visited Ottawa was last summer and I fell instantly in love with it. I was working on Capital Hoedown, a major music festival and went to meet the team. When I returned for the actual event, I had the fortune to meet several people who turned into wonderful friends.  While I connected with these people for a short period of time during my trip, social media brought us closer. When I went back last week I had the chance to spend time with them and it was like visiting with lifelong friends. You see, that is the power of social media. It helps us to solidify relationships in ways that were never possible before.

I often hear from people who object to or resist social networking that they prefer “real” relationships. Guess what? So do I.  I would never trade the girl-talk that I had with my friend Nathalie for a Facebook chat or the experience of going to a restaurant owned by my friend Ray for a Skype session. And I am pretty sure that it would be very difficult for Mike to help me with my awful golf swing over IM.  Yet, for most of the year, that is how we communicate.  We text, we IM, we Skype, we Facebook.  We get to know each other in the virtual world so that when we have that rare opportunity to get together, the time is very meaningful.

Following my trip to Ottawa I had the luck to visit my BFF in London. Carree is working on an extended assignment in the UK and when she was confirmed my first reaction was “WE are going to London.”  And so I combined my travel and spent a few days catching up with her and making a few new friends.  We went to a wine festival where I started conversations with a handful of people. We met Didac from Spain who was sampling wine from his family’s vineyard and Amelie who worked for a French winery. I also stumbled into Filipe who works in online reputation management and we had a lot to share.  Oh and I cannot forget the other Ray who I had a lovely chat with at the airport lounge. Today my assignment is follow-up with my new friends and grow my global network.  I’m pretty sure that Facebook and LinkedIn might be involved.

So there it is. Another story about social media and face-to-face. There are not enough words for me to describe the gratitude that I feel for the friends that I have made. I am even more grateful for the technology tools that help me stay connected to my friends and colleagues. 

So, are you are still a skeptic or do you have a great social media makes the world smaller story? Please share.