People are People

re tweet me
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"No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important." - Mary Kay Ash

I recently received an email from a colleague at work referring me to an internal blog post. The thoughts in the blog post talked about flexibility, work life balance and Enteprise 2.0. To be honest, the blog post on its own was awesome. In addition to the blog post being so great, there were many many comments to the blog post. One caught my attention, and this single comment is inspiration for this blog post. The comment is provided here (with a couple of small edits):

I love my iPhone!
I don't know how I survived before I got my iPhone. Besides checking my e-mails, I use it daily: to check the weather, listen to music,read CNN & USAToday headlines, update my Twitter feed and play Words With Friends (it's so addictive!). I use the Open Table and Fandango apps to make dinner reservations and buy movie tickets.
I couldn't live without texting. My son recently got his driver's license, so he keeps me posted with his whereabouts by texting me. I text friends to meet them for lunch. I'm so comfortable texting that sometimes I catch myself typing "u" for "you" or "c" for "see" in emails at work. And, yes, I often wonder why email at work doesn't have auto complete / auto correct. How awesome would that be?
The best example of how my iPhone keeps me connected has to be what happened to me at a recent event at work.[We had an external speaker come in to talk at work]. I follow the speakers Twitter feed, so I tweeted her from my phone the morning of the event to tell her that I was excited to come hear her speak. And she actually tweeted me back! So after her talk, I approached her to sign a copy of her book. As we chatted, I mentioned that I had tweeted her earlier that morning. She actually stopped what she was doing, looked up at me and said, "I'm so happy that you came over to say hi. I didn't recognize you. You're so much blonder than your Twitter picture!" How cool is that? Without my iPhone, I never would have made a personal connection with such a remarkable woman.
The part that struck me the most is the last last paragraph, the commenter describes making a connection through a social network activity stream (Twitter). It got me to thinking about how this type of interaction online enhances relationships of people. She took the opportunity to reach out to someone before the speaker came to work to talk and then took the opportunity to meet and talk with the speaker after to event. And just by making a connection via twitter, the commenter was able to 1. Make a connection with someone that she would never have made before and 2. the connection was even better/enhanced, if she hadn’t met the initial connection via twitter. Can you imagine the power this could have within the Enterprise?

Being able to see people profile pics is just the tip of the iceberg. Being able to connect with someone before a meeting in an ad hoc manner, even someone you have never talked to, and then meeting them in person. Imagine how that could enhance relationships - the power of person to person contact is important and is quickly enhanced when the connection is made in an almost anonymous fashion initially.

To illustrate the point, I have had this happen to me. I follow people that I view as "stars" in the E2.0 world. This past June, I got to meet the stars that I had been following via twitter Google+ and other social network venues when I went to the Enterprise 2.0 conference. While I viewed the people I met as start in the E2.0 world, I quickly found out after meeting them that they were just regular people that like sharing their knowledge. And in addition, looking back at the interactions and actions I had with them, they valued my knowledge just as much as I valued theirs. I found that many of them looked to me for inspiration, just as I had looked to them for inspiration. It was an awesome experience that enhanced the relationship I had already started to form online.

Looking back at both my experience and trying to relate to the commenters experience, I can honestly say that learned two things :
  1. People are people, and while you might put someone on a pedestal, they often have not done that with themselves. They look at what they do as just something they like to do and are happy to help out.
  2. Having a relationship with someone online enhances the relationship once you meet them in person. It makes the relationship build quicker in person and in the end, the friendship is even deeper than it would have been without the initial online relationship.
For those people that I am talking about (and you know who you are), let me just say that I am awed over and over by you all. In fact, I gush about every one of you every time I start talking with colleagues (at work) about E2.0. You all mean that much to me. Thank you.

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