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Revenge of the Nerd

August 3, 2008

Yesterday was a busy day.  It seems like our weekends are always quite busy! Some thoughts have been rolling around in my head for the last day or so.  Ever since my wife made the comment about how social I was at our friend’s backyard party yesterday.  It got me to thinking about some stuff.

Creative, thinkers, people who are doing their best

First, we went out to Vernonia to see some friends, then we cruised on over to Sellwood to be a part of @camikaos and @drnormal‘s Tiki Party.  I met them both through Twitter and have had a couple of face to face meetings – they are cool!  It is fun to have cool friends.  Creative, thinkers, people who are doing their best to live in harmony with the rest of the world.  I think everyone they invited to this party is in that category (present company excluded, of course 🙂

We had a great time!  @drnormal‘s band played and they were awesome!  Met some new folks, connected with some more Twitter folks, and met some Twitter folks that I’ve never met in person before! @camikaos was a great hostess.  Even the kids had a great time!

I have never seen you be so social

As we drove home, Mommy said to me: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you that social.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I have never seen you be so social. You usually hang back and don’t introduce yourself to people.”

I’ve been processing her observation

I’ve been processing her observation and the events of yesterday.  Here is my basic analysis:

  1. First of all, there have been many posts written by people all over the blogosphere about how Twitter unlocks the social potential in all of us.  Just the other day @geekmommy, in Denver, said that upon first meeting Twitter friends, she is able to skip the preliminary conversations about the weather and jump right into meaningful relating.  I’ve found this to be true myself.
  2. The big revelation though is the authenticity I feel amongst my social networking friends.  Those that use Twitter as a socialnetworking tool, not just an ego posting device, find that they have instantly widened their circle of friends.  In addition, most tweeters blog – and are involved in Friendfeed, Delicious, etc.  So, really, their whole life is online.  It isn’t that hard to know someone pretty transparently.
  3. The final observation is that I don’t have any games to play with these folks.  They don’t affect my paycheck, my lifestyle, or my neighborhood.  I can just be me.

When I am around people that I am supposed to lead, motivate, supervise, mentor, coach, or counsel, I get all stuffed up.  I don’t know why?  Actually, they say you revert back to your stress personality when you are stressed.  So, when I don’t feel accepted, I am stressed and turn back into an introvert.

It is really funny.  I spent the first 20 years of my life as an ostracized outsider.  I was shy, introverted, and always picked last for sports – even though I am quite athletic.  The next 10 years were a period of transition, and now I am often invited to hang with the cool kids.  It is truly the revenge of the nerds.

On Twitter, and other socialnetworking sites, I can pretty much be myself.  But in other real life venues, I have an image to uphold – or, worse, people put me on a pedestal and I’m not able to step off, unless they let me.  I tell them, I’m just Gary – but they don’t listen.  I tell them that I fail, I fall, and I have struggles just like everyone else, but they don’t believe me.  And when I do make a mistake, they don’t forgive me and move on.

I spent the first 20 years of my life as an ostracized outsider

In my real life, I keep hearing rumors about complaints people have.  They won’t talk to me about it, but they’ll throw rocks behind my back.  On Twitter, or one’s blog, people will tell it to you straight.  In real life, not so much.

I think this is why I feel more outgoing and authentic with my socialnetworking friends.  I know they’ll be honest with me.

Now, my opportunity from this is to be authentic with people, regardless of what is going on in their head, their heart, or their gossip.

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5 Comments
  1. August 3, 2008 8:37 pm

    Isn’t it nice to find that you are actually *friends* with your Twitter friends? 🙂

    Great post!!

  2. August 3, 2008 10:45 pm

    1st I’m so very glad that you came and that we got to meet your wife this time. It was wonderful to see you with your lovely family…

    2nd “and now I am often invited to hang with the cool kids. It is truly the revenge of the nerds” In my experience the nerds have become the cool kids… otherwise they’d never let me play.

  3. August 5, 2008 8:50 pm

    I have a hunch that a lot of us twitter types are introverts. I know I am. I’ve had people who *really* know me say the same thing. Honestly? A year ago I’d never show up to an event to meet people I’d only communicated with via the Internet without major heart palpitations and hyperventilating. I feel like a different person, one that can be social…or not. Whoo-hoo for twitter!

  4. August 5, 2008 9:48 pm

    Very thoughtful post Gary. I was happy you joined us with your family. Not only did you hang out with our Twitter friends, you also got to meet our very cool neighbors!

    I’ll tell you a bit of a secret: not only are the nerds scared of people. Those that are on a stage and attempting to entertain can be extremely shy socially. Trust me on this. 🙂

  5. August 6, 2008 4:15 pm

    Is now a bad time to mention that we only lurv you because you have the most adorable children?

    Also, I think I deserve some credit for assuring Cami (on twitter) that you are not a dog. You can pay me later.

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