History dictates proper etiquette.
Social norms evolve over time, but changes are usually subtle and nuanced. Every once in a while something new is introduced to culture that limits our ability to refer to precedence, though. And yesterday, that something was a little place we like to call the Internet.
The St. Louis Cardinals were nice enough to have a group of people that routinely write about the site come out to Busch Stadium yesterday. We had a Q&A with General Manager John Mozeliak. We got a tour of the new Redbird Club. We were treated to the newest fare from SportService in a party suite. They opened up a tap of beer.
Smart move by the Cardinals. This site has no integrity whatsoever, so before we go any further, let me get my agreed upon shilling out of the way so I can make a return visit:
BUY SEASON TICKETS! BUY A BUNCH OF MERCHENDICE! DONATE IF YOU WANT!
Now that’s out of the way I can tell you that the ‘blog-o-sphere’, for lack of a more revelatory term, is a pretty egalitarian place. Anyone can start up shop, start yapping about the Cardinals or anything else on their mind, and if it’s any good people will come to it. If the site gets lazy or boring, people won’t come to it and it’ll become a wasteland.
CardsDiaspora.com isn’t the most popular website on the web. It isn’t the millionth most popular website on the web. But we’ve done a pretty good job of throwing up some new crap daily for several years. And in the world of websites- that’s tenure.
It’s also allowed us to have contact with writers and editors of many, many other sites over the years. Many of whom we’ve never met, but know a good deal about. And this is where the whole thing gets a bit touch and go.
How do you act when meeting someone that you know a great deal about, but have never met? And not like a celebrity, but someone that also knows a great deal about you…
Take Bill Ivie. I know he just bought a PT Cruiser. I saw a picture of it on Twitter. He contributed to this very site. I see his offspring growing up on Facebook.
Conversely, he was worried about me Saturday when the UK Cats lost in the Final Four and has desperately tried to convince me that having a ‘Bachelor’ type segment on this site would be worthwhile.
But I’ve never actually met Bill. I’ve never looked the guy in the eye, shook his hand.
It was pretty cool to meet not just Bill yesterday, but 10’s of other webmasters too. Many of them were in the same boat as Bill – people I knew pretty well, but had never met. Which brings me back to my main question… how exactly are we supposed to handle these situations?
Perhaps our situation is more exacerbated, since we live on the web. But as communication continues to be less ethereal and more digital, this is a problem that you’re going to face. Probably sooner than later. You’ll develop a relationship online, but does that carry over to off-line?
Where are the starting points? What do you actually say? What IS the etiquette for these types of situations?
Quite frankly, telling Bill “good to meet you” sounded ridiculous when I said it and even moreso in retrospect. I’ve met the damn guy. I talk to him like I talk to anyone else I know. But we don’t have anything to look back on and reference here. We’re in the midst of a new phenomena that is creating situations that, while are inherently good, are also unchartered.
So if someone has experience in this area and would care to share… I think we’d be all ears.
But seriously. We like free beer. Go buy season tickets and tell them that The CD sent you.
The philosophical quest for understanding our cyber-friends through which space and time have been stripped and the microcosm of the reality when we meet face to face is a new phenomenon in our social lives. I have a story.
Freshman year of college in murray, 1999, the Internet has exploded and there were all sorts of new things to see, collective, interpret, and interact with. It was my first computer, porn, videos, music, games, all at the touch of my finger tips. Then on a boring Friday night I logged onto yahoo games (dixiechicken420), I loved playing euchre. I played with friends from other schools. It was wild. I got on to play and struck up a friendly conversation with a girl playing at my table (mustanggirl). The chat continued after the game. We spoke like we knew each other for years. We spoke on the phone and it was like talking to an old friend, it got intense, spiritual, and sexual. The only picture I saw of her was awesome. A hottie posing in front of a fire red mustang. This was the vision in my head as we told each other secrets from our past. She went to school at Kent State, a good 15 hours from Murray. After a couple of weeks of phone and euchre chat, she decided she wanted to see me in person. Over a long weekend, she drove down to Murray. Late Friday night she arrived at my dorm, weary from the drive. I didn't know what to expect (I am a man and mostly had dreams of sex, and lots of it). Well, that didn't happen. The luster wore off after a couple hours and the picture she had posted was a good 2-3 years old. I might have also fudged my digits at that time too (6' and 180lbs? Maybe my senior year of high school and before my freshman 40). She stayed saturday night and slept on my futon, I got zero action, she left Sunday, and I never spoke to her again.
I believe we can hide behind the screen, glitz, and glamour of the internet and make us who we want to be. More funny, more controversial, less neurotic, more self confidence. Then when we make contact, face to face contact, with that person we have been typing to, and, well we are often left feeling a bit disappointed. The girl was nice and if we lived 20 minutes away from each other it might have been more, who's to say. All I know is that I got no action and that left a sour taste in my mouth for Internet relationships.
At least she wasn't a 300lb bald dude who lived in a trailer pretending to be a 19 year old hottie from Ohio who drives a red mustang.