Have We Met?

by Jennifer Miller on September 10, 2009

in Communication, Social Media

Here’s a trend I’ve noticed when getting introduced to people via technology requiring the written word—email, Linked In, Twitter.  When I first introduce myself, people will often reply something to the effect of “nice to ‘meet’ you.”  The quotation marks around the word meet are significant.  The meaning I derive from those quotations marks are that we have sort of made each others’ acquaintance, but not quite. 

So the question becomes, at what point have we “met”?  When do you actually feel like you’ve made a connection with someone?  Up until this year, my yardstick would have been that in order to feel “connected” I would need at least one substantial phone conversation. To me, hearing someone’s voice has been crucial to what I call the Sniff Test.  (The Test is a very unscientific method by yours truly in which I metaphorically give them a “sniff” to determine our compatibility.  It’s gross, I know.)

Over the past few years, my perception of what suffices for meeting people has been shifting. For example, I provided services to a client in Texas for three years before we actually met face-to-face. Since using Twitter, the sniff test yardstick has changed even more dramatically.  I find that people’s tweets can give me initial insight into whether we would be a good fit for one another.  It’s not fool proof, and I still need that voice-to-voice connection to get the good vibe on someone.  And overall, my preference is very old-school—I love connecting face-to-face with people.

What’s your connection yardstick?  At what point are you willing to say about someone, “Oh, yes—we’ve met.”?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Rosendahl September 11, 2009 at 2:33 am

My connection yardstick in the welcome mat.

I am connected to people across the United States and beyond – it’s pretty amazing – and I’ve been only able to have a face-to-face with very, very few. Even without that, there is a handful of people I’ve developed a “connection” to through blogs, twitter, email, and phone conversations that feel right now, if I was in their area, I’d make it a point to see them – and I’d be welcome in their home.

Peg Rowe September 11, 2009 at 6:21 am

Jennifer, great observation. As an executive coach, I have many clients across the US and a few internationally that I only connect with via phone. We’ve never met face-to-face.
Since being on Twitter, I have been surprised by how connected I feel to a number of people I’ve intereacted with. I’m beginning to supplement that with calls and Skype connections, as well.

Corey Frank September 11, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Great point, Jennifer. I look at “meeting” folks on the Web as more of a gathering of like minds. It’s phase .5 of the relationship. It’s becoming common to hear phrases like, “yes we’ve met ‘virtually'” or “haven’t officially met, but have ‘tweeted’.”

I like your sniff test idea as we need to see and hear the human behind the ideas. We need the “3D” version.

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