Last night I went to an Oxford Geek Night at the Jericho Tavern. The upstairs room was packed with web developers and the like and focused around various talks that were given. I have to confess that a room full of people I don’t know is not my favourite environment. I was glad when, noticing that the crowds seemed thinner near the stage, I went foward and found the last remaining free chair in the room!
What kept me in the room was Twitter. It was not so much the subject of @sylwiapresley’s promised talk (twitter ethics – interesting and well-presented but I already have well-formed ideas on the subject so it would not have been enough on its own) but the fact that we had earlier exchanged greetings in the twittersphere and I had promised to go over and say hello. It is a virtual meeting place but now it was hooked into real-life accountability.
After the talk, I held to my part and briefly introduced myself to Sylwia. Later, cycling back home, I was reflecting on that theme of accountability. I find “crowd scenes” easiest if I have a definite role to play, like bassist or photographer; failing that, going along with someone or knowing that I’ll meet someone I at least vaguely know helps a lot, especially if I have made a definite promise to attend.
Perhaps I should offer a microslot on “Twitter as a social prosthetic” for the next Geek Night? The accountability would keep me there a bit further into the evening and give an easy route to get to know more people, it would be very heartfelt and, to ice the cake, the title does have a certain resonance with the type of work that has brought me to Oxford in the first place.
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